The mother of a window cleaner who fell to his death seven years ago yesterday said she felt a sense of closure after planting two trees to remember her son.

Pat McPherson said it had been seven “heartbreaking” years since Stephen Wainwright died after falling from a fifth-floor balcony while cleaning windows at a block of flats in Wells Road, Ilkley.

But yesterday, Mrs McPherson planted two trees at Ilkley cemetery in honour of her popular son, who had been cleaning windows for 20 years when he died in March 2005.

She said it was a good opportunity for friends and family to remember the 44-year-old Leeds United fan, after attempting to set up a memorial with the club over the years.

However, it was not possible and now Mrs McPherson said she was happy to plant the cherry blossom and acer trees in the cemetery grounds thanks to money donated from Mr Wainwright’s friends and his family over the years.

“It’s been seven heartbreaking years,” she said.

“All his friends collected money for him and they’ve been very good and still come round to see me now.

“He had friends from the ages of 14 to 80 and the number of people who got in touch after he died has been amazing.

“He would have liked this.”

Mr Wainwright was born in Otley and moved to Ilkley with his mum when he was six years old. He was a former pupil of Sacred Heart School and St Mary’s School, Menston. He later studied art at Keighley College.

He liked being a window cleaner because it kept him outside.

An inquest into Mr Wainwright’s death heard it was likely he had either been leaning on railings inside the balcony trying to clean a kitchen window or was on the outside of the balcony holding on to the rail.

The trees were planted thanks to support from Ilkley Parish Councillor Lexa Robinson, the council’s project manager for the cemetery and riverside pathways. There are other spaces for trees at the cemetery. For more information, go to