Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleep

A convoy of nearly 50 lorries drove through Port Talbot on Saturday in memory of a popular “gentle giant” key worker who died in his sleep. Stephen Khan, 48, was found unresponsive in the early hours of May 9 on the sofa by his partner Sharon when she realised he had not left for his beloved job as a lorry driver. His daughter Natasha, 29, said: “He fell asleep on the Saturday night and then in the early hours around about 4.30am, I got the phone call.

“He was ready to get up for work at 2.30am which he loved, and his partner realised he hadn’t gone to give her a kiss before going to work and then she found him. But he had gone to sleep that night and didn’t know any differently. He went to sleep knowing he was a grandfather and that he was going to work – something that made him happy.”

Stephen Khan loved his job and worked non-stop through the pandemic Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleepStephen with his daughter, natasha

Stephen’s postmortem results came back inconclusive, so the family are waiting on further results which they hope will explain the cause of his sudden death.

For now, it is being treated as adult cot death, the family said. Paying tribute to the dad-of-three on the day of his funeral, the company he worked for – Celtic International Freight – organised for him to be taken to the crematorium on the back of his own lorry, followed by a large fleet of their vehicles. The company’s owners Lee and Leanne personalised Stephen’s lorry with his nickname “Gupta” on the side and his 11-month-old grandson’s name Rocco at the front.

The lorry will continue to be used, which the family said will keep his memory going.

Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleepStephen’s family said he had a cheeky sense of honour and said ‘you could hear him before you could see him’ Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleepStephen’s personalised lorry

Natasha said: “They came from his yard in Llandarcy, then left from his mother’s house in Tonmawr, to Curwen Close, up to Cwmavon, past Taibach and then we went to Margam crematorium. There were people all the way down there and people on the side of the road. “They personalised his lorry with his name and his first grandson on the front of it, which was a lovely idea.

They are going to carry on using it which is comfort for me, I know his lorry will always be on the road. “It was such a sad day but it meant so much to us and gave us so much comfort and I knew he would be smiling. it will be so nice to look back on and I can show Rocco in the future.”

Subscribe to the WalesOnline newsletter today

Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleep

You can now get all of the need-to-know news sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our free WalesOnline newsletter. It takes just seconds to subscribe – simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.

The family, who are from Tonmawr, said they are “so grateful” to everyone involved in giving Stephen the best send off they could have imagined. They said he deserved recognition for working so hard at such an important job through the pandemic. Natasha said: “It’s so nice that my father is getting recognised now because last year lorry drivers kept this country going along with all the other key workers.

“He was supplying the supermarkets with food and travelling back and fourth and not seeing some of his family. I was lockdown pregnant with his first grandchild, so I missed out on a lot not seeing him last year, but the fact he still did that for everyone else shows what kind of person he was.” Natasha said Stephen’s whole world revolved around his job lorry driving as well as his partner, and family including Natasha’s 11-month-old son Rocco, Stephen’s son Jarad, 23, stepson Ryan, 23, and sister Jenna.

Huge convoy of trucks pay tribute to popular dad who died in his sleepStephen adored his grandson Rocco

“His life was being a lorry driver as well as his friends and family,” said Natasha. “He was so happy doing his job, he did it from such a young age and it was day-in-day-out, he didn’t stop working.

Growing up we’d see him on the weekends as he was a long-distance driver. “We’re all still in shock at the moment, but it’s so nice to see how many people actually respected him and thought highly of him. He had such a cheeky sense of humour and you could always hear him before you could see him.

He was just involved with everything and everyone knew him, he had friends across Wales, Scotland and England. I’ve had so many messages off people. “We’re going to live on with all these memories of him that we do have with him.

I was so proud that he got to meet his grandson who was born in June 2020. He called himself pops and he was the proudest man on the planet. It’s sad that we had to miss out on seeing so much because of the pandemic but we’ve got pictures and they remind us of him each day.

“But there’s a big chunk missing from our hearts, I’m just thinking of all the stuff he’s going to miss, but I’ll always know he’ll be around even if it’s not in person because that’s just the kind of person he was.”

Stephen’s family are asking people to give money to the Freya Bevan’s GoFundMe if they wish to make a donation in his memory.

The fundraiser was set up to help eight-year-old Freya’s family, from Neath, pay for her “lifeline” cancer treatment in America and was close to Stephen’s heart.