POPULAR newsagent Stan Taylor says he is lucky to be alive after contracting coronavirus.

His family feared he would not reach his 60th birthday in June after becoming seriously ill with the virus, early in lockdown.

Stan, who runs Little Hulton News and Booze with his brother-in-law Mike Fisher, was put into an induced coma and spent a week on a ventilator.

Fortunately he managed to pull through and he is now back at work part-time.

Stan, who lives in Tyldesley, said: “I was very poorly and my wife Jane and our family were warned that I might not make it. Apparently, there were 38,000 likes for me on social media and the goodwill messages included one from Manchester United.

“There was obviously a lot of love out there for me and fortunately I managed to pull through. I still struggle breathing and have fluid on my left lung but I’m much better.

“My birthday bucket list was meant to include a visit to New York, but I’m just glad to be here and the illness has changed my perception on life.”

And he was delighted to received a special letter saying the business had raised a staggering £10,000 for St Ann’s Hospice, which is just around the corner from the shop.

Mike, who is married to Stan’s sister Janet, said: “We both grew up round here so know what St Ann’s means to the community.

“We’ve thanked our customers for their generous donations on our Facebook page and to be honest most of the money has come from schoolchildren who’ve been putting the odd bit of change in the box.”

Stan and Mike have run the shop for the last 20 years.

Eamonn O’Neal, chief executive of St Ann’s, said: “We can’t thank Stan, Mike and all of their amazing customers enough for their support – what a phenomenal amount raised for our patients.

“We’re so pleased that Stan is starting to feel better and grateful that despite his own health and what he’s been through, that he still thinks about others in the local community like this is incredible.

“Collection tins like the one in Little Hulton News and Booze make such a difference and the funds raised – however big or small – really do help us to continue providing care to the thousands of people we support every year.

“We’d love to hear from anyone who has an organisation or business where they think they could have a tin too, as we’re on the look-out for new locations for them, especially as many of our fundraising events and other activities have had to be postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic.” To contact the hospice about raising money or having your own collection tin to support local patients, please call 0161 498 3631 or email fundraising@sah.org.uk