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90-year-old man dies after his car plunged into a pond just outside Newmarket less than an hour before his wife lost her battle with cancer

An elderly man died after his car plunged into a pond less than an hour before his wife of 67 years lost her battle with cancer at West Suffolk Hospital.

Reg Gardner, who was 90, was rescued on Friday from the pond near Gazeley Stud by a passer-by and taken to the hospital where he died early on Monday morning.

His daughters Susan Gardner and Diana Chambers, who had been at the bedside of their mother Audrey, 82, were preparing to go home when they heard about the accident.

Reg and Audrey Gardiner Picture: Family
Reg and Audrey Gardiner Picture: Family

“We were with Mum when she passed at about 1.30 and we were ready to leave when my brother-in-law rang to say Dad had been in a car accident, so we went straight down to A&E to see him,” said Susan.

“He had been resuscitated at the scene but they put him on life support and I was with him when he died at 5.30 on Monday morning.”

Describing her parents as ‘inseparable’, Susan said: “They had been together for nearly 70 years and for that to happen to them both at the same time is something you couldn’t write in a novel.

“It all feels very surreal but I think we are finding comfort in knowing that Mum and Dad are together and at peace.”

A double funeral will be held at West Suffolk Crematorium at 1pm on Tuesday, March 10, when donations to the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the West Suffolk Hospital’s My Wish charity have been requested by the family instead of flowers.

Susan and Diana are hoping to meet Brendon Hall, who dived into the pond and pulled Mr Gardner out before carrying out CPR until the arrival of the emergency services and the Air Ambulance.

Susan said that under different circumstances, and if her father had been a younger man, Mr Hall’s actions could have saved his life.

“Sadly that wasn’t to be but we would like to thank him for what he did,” she said.

Mr Hall, who lives in Lakenheath, said: “I just jumped in and swam to him and dragged him back to the bank.

“I started CPR and could hear him breathing so I hoped he would be okay.

“I am very sorry indeed to hear that he has died.”

Mr Gardner had worked as a farm manager and gamekeeper before moving to Saxon Street where he worked at the Godolphin-owned Rutland Stud. After he retired, he and his wife bought their bungalow at Maltings Close, in Moulton, where he had a part-time job at Moulton Paddocks for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.

The couple were enjoying a quiet retirement with shopping trips to Newmarket, tending their garden and watching horseracing, which they both loved, on television.

They leave five children, Susan and Diana, Janet Smith and David and Andrew Gardner along with their grandchildren and great grandchildren.