Lollipop lady Marion Sewell, from Stockton, drowned after boat fall in Great Yarmouth

A family holiday in Norfolk ended in tragedy when a lollipop lady attempted an 'impetuous' leap on to her boat from the quay in Great Yarmouth, an inquest heard.

Marion Sewell, 68, of Stockton-on-Tees, drowned after leaping five feet from the quay wall on to the boat and falling into the water on April 25, 2011.

At an inquest in Norwich yesterday, Norfolk coroner William Armstrong ruled that safety concerns over the mooring of the boat had not been a factor in her death.

He recorded a verdict that she died from accidental drowning, adding: 'No other person bears responsibility for what happened.

'Marion died as a result of her own actions which were clearly impetuous, ill-considered and ill-judged.


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'She should not have tried to get on the boat, and especially while not wearing a life jacket.'

Mrs Sewell had been planning to spend a week on the Broads with her son Carl and his family.

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She and her friend Pam Sedgewick returned to the boat around 8pm to find that the falling tide had dropped the boat five feet below the level of the quay.

Despite Mrs Sedgewick's warning that the pair should wait for help, Mrs Sewell crouched down to attempt to lower herself on to the boat

Mrs Sedgewick said: 'The next thing was she took a leap on to the boat. I can still see it in my mind: the boat seemed to come up as she jumped, and that acted like a trampoline and threw her over the back of the boat.

'And then she just vanished under the boat.'

Mrs Sedgewick ran to get help and found boat-owner Devon Jenson, who alerted the coastguard.

He said: '[Mrs Sewell's] body was rolling around in the water and was spinning everywhere. Her mouth was open and there was white foam coming out.

'I called out her name and tried to get some reaction from her.'

In tears, he added: 'I see her in the water. I can't go back. I question myself over and over about whether I could have done more.'

Mrs Sewell was recovered from the water and taken to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, but died on April 27.

Mrs Sewell's son, Carl, said his mother had begun walking with a stick and suffered a number of falls in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and that he had planned to take her for a check-up after their break.

Mr Armstrong said Mrs Sewell was a 'remarkable person' and that she had been very popular with schoolchildren and colleagues.

Her son paid tribute afterwards, saying: 'She was a very popular lollipop lady. She knew every child by name, and every single child got a Christmas card every year. 'We all know at some point we are going to die, but when something like this happens, it's hard.'

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