Norwich dentist died in skiing accident in Switzerland, inquest told
PUBLISHED: 07:55 16 August 2014
A Norwich dentist died after falling down a ravine while skiing off-piste in a forested area in the Swiss resort of Vercorin, an inquest heard.
David English, 65, from The Vale, Swainsthorpe, near Norwich, was airlifted to hospital in Sion, but, despite wearing a helmet, died from his injuries the following day, on February 11.
Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake’s conclusion at an inquest in Norwich yesterday was accidental death.
Dr English, a father-of-three, was a highly-respected dentist who had run his own practice in Norwich for 34 years. The practice is still running in St Augustine’s Street. He was an experienced skier who had first taken up the sport in 1987.
The inquest heard that Mr English and his wife Heather were part of a group of five English tourists who were skiing with a guide on February 10. The seven-day trip was being run by the Mountain Tracks company.
Following the accident, Swiss police conducted an investigation which found there were no suspicious circumstances.
The Swiss report into the tragedy stated that the skiers were about 50 metres apart, and were travelling at a reasonable speed. Dr English lost his ski in fresh snow, slid off a path and fell on to a small road below, where he hit his head on a rock, the report found. The cause of death was given as a broken spine as a result of a skiing accident.
Following the incident, Dr English’s wife, who worked with her husband as practice manager, and son Oliver paid tribute to him as a man with a passion for learning, but as someone who always made time for his family.
His son Oliver said at the time: “He had a smile and a laugh for anyone. Everybody who met him seemed to take to him.
“He was inquisitive, he was questioning, he had a thirst for knowledge. He was very intrigued in the world around him.”
A ski instructor at Norfolk Snowsports Club in Trowse for many years, Dr English’s other interests included cycling and music.
Born and raised in Harrogate, he moved to Great Yarmouth to take his first dentistry job in 1977, a year after getting married, and then three years later set up his own practice in St Augustine’s Street. A strong advocate for the use of microscopes in general dental practice, Dr English was a founder member of the Norwich Dentists’ Study Group.