Steve McKay was known to many for his drone photography, working at the GBL Wheelchairs shop in Courtwick Lane for more than 16 years and running the Littlehampton Today and Tomorrow Facebook page, which has more than 5,000 followers.
The 57-year-old died peacefully in his sleep at Worthing Hospital on July 3 from pneumonia, having had renal cancer for five years.
His wife Tracie, 53, from Connaught Road, Littlehampton, said he was her ‘best friend’ and ‘made her laugh every single day’.
She said: “He just loved life; he saw the positive in everything and never took it for granted. He was laughing and joking, right up until the end.”
Born with no legs, Steve was one of hundreds of babies in the UK affected by the Thalidomide scandal, which saw women prescribed with the drug to ease morning sickness giving birth to children with deformities.
At six months old, he was sent to live at the Chailey Heritage School in Lewes where his parents would visit him from London, and he was made to wear prosthetic legs to look ‘normal’.
When he left at 18, Tracie said he threw the legs out at the tip in a symbolic gesture of living life on his own terms.
His daughter Emma, 26, said: “If he was told he couldn’t do something, he was then determined to do it.”
Steve’s son Matthew, 25, added: “He did a lot more in his life than any able-bodied person I know.”
Through his life, Steve was a DJ in Brighton in the ’80s, became the British disabled waterskiing champion and travelled the world, including Las Vegas.
But Littlehampton was always his favourite place, having visited on school trips.
The technophile loved using his drone to take unusual shots of the town from the sky – and the odd TV chef too. Last July, his photos of Jamie Oliver filming on West Beach proved a hit with Gazette readers.
Steve’s funeral will take place on Wednesday, July 24 – his birthday – at 1.40pm in Worthing Crematorium, followed by a wake at The Vardar restaurant in Selborne Place, Littlehampton.
Members of the public are welcome, with no dress code.
Steve is survived by Tracie, his two children, two step-children and four grandchildren, with two more on the way.