IN less than 12 months, Lloyd Hilldrup lost his father, his job and faced his own battle with cancer.

But now the 49-year-old is back on his feet — and on the road — as he has relaunched the driving school his dad Brian ran in Bolton for 48 years.

The father-of-two said: “It was a heck of a year. He died in the February, I was diagnosed in the April.

“He died very suddenly. When I was off recovering later that year, the company I worked for went bust.”

Not only did Mr Hilldrup, a chartered quantity surveyor for 30 years and director of a large multi-million pound company, lose his job, but his wife, Angela, and son, Thomas, also lost theirs as they worked for the same firm.

Mr Hilldrup, of Molyneux Road, Westhoughton, said: “It was just one of those years. I didn’t want to get back into the same business.

“I wanted to do something that I enjoy and I wanted to carry on what my dad had done for all those years.

“I didn’t really get the satisfaction that you would helping people learn to drive. I just recently qualified and started trading under my dad’s company name. It’s a complete life change quite late on in my life. Hopefully he would be very proud.”

Mr Hilldrup’s father, from Great Lever, ran Tru Way School of Motoring and taught about 4,000 people how to drive before being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012.

Mr Hilldrup, who had a tumour and part of his kidney removed just months after his father’s death, said: “At the moment, I’m clear. I seem to have defied the odds.

“He had bowel cancer. It was very sudden with my dad. He lived his life to the full. Right up until he died, he was working.

“I only got into the driving scene the last eight months. I think he was very well-respected. He was one of those people who got on with everybody. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”

And he is not the only one behind the wheel as his sister, Christine Cunningham who lives in Lostock, has been a driving instructor for 30 years.

Mr Hilldrup said: “She has helped me get through it, I couldn’t have done it without her.”