Bungay couple pay tribute to daughter after second family tragedy

Michelle Spillings, who recently died after choking at her son's home.
Picture: Courtesy of Michell

Michelle Spillings, who recently died after choking at her son's home. Picture: Courtesy of Michelle's family. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Bungay couple are trying to come to terms with the sudden loss of their daughter – having suffered the shock death of their son several years ago.

Ian and Judy Gosling pay tribute to their daughter Michelle. The couple also lost their son Paul 21

Ian and Judy Gosling pay tribute to their daughter Michelle. The couple also lost their son Paul 21 years ago. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Ian and Judy Gosling, of Hillside Road West, endured a second tragedy when daughter Michelle Spillings, a mother and grandmother, choked on a sausage while enjoying lunch at her son's Harleston home.

Despite the best efforts of her son, Dean, who had first aid training, and paramedics from the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), she died in hospital later that day.

Michelle Spillings with her brother Paul who died 21 years ago.
Picture: Courtesy of Michelle's fami

Michelle Spillings with her brother Paul who died 21 years ago. Picture: Courtesy of Michelle's family. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Michelle, 46, was described as 'one of life's carers.' Her death comes 21 years after her brother, Paul, who was 26, died from cardiac arrest in the young while playing on a pitch and putt course at Lound.

Talking about the latest shock, Mr Gosling, who is 80, said Michelle's partner, Stephen and her younger son, Daniel, had gone fishing and she had bought sausage and chips for lunch.

Paul Gosling who died 21 years ago.
Picture: Courtesy of Paul's family.

Paul Gosling who died 21 years ago. Picture: Courtesy of Paul's family. - Credit: Nick Butcher


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'She choked on a sausage. Dean was outside and she went outside fighting for breath, and collapsed in the garden, with the sausage stuck in her throat,' he said.

'Dean did his best for her and called the paramedics and they gave her oxygen for 45 minutes, but she suffered a heart attack at the same time. We got a phone call at 12 o'clock that day.'

Ian and Judy Gosling pay tribute to their daughter Michelle. The couple also lost their son Paul 21

Ian and Judy Gosling pay tribute to their daughter Michelle. The couple also lost their son Paul 21 years ago. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

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It was 21 years after they had a similar tragic call to say their son Paul had suddenly died.

'He was 26, and was playing on the pitch and putt course at Lound when he just collapsed,' Mr Gosling said.

'Paramedics brought him round twice, but they couldn't a third time. It was put down to cardiac arrest in the young syndrome.'

Following that loss, Mr and Mrs Gosling organised fundraising events for research into CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), raising £2,000, and now they are considering fundraising for the EAAA. Money collected at Michelle's funeral was donated to the charity in tribute to the efforts of the air paramedics.

Coming to terms with such a double tragedy is hard for them both - Mrs Gosling also lost a brother, John Edwards, through sudden death at the age of 24.

'It has hit us hard,' said Mr Gosling. 'Paul's death was particularly hard for Judy, and losing Michelle has affected me more. I have problems with my legs and since then I haven't been able to walk properly – it is probably the shock coming out.'

Mr Gosling is well known in Bungay, having been secretary of the town's bowls club for over 40 years, and was secretary of the Cherry Tree Angling Club for many years.

Mrs Gosling said: 'You don't expect to outlive your children – now we have outlived two. It doesn't seem right. It is so hard.'

The couple have two other sons, Mark, 45, and James 31.

Michelle had two sons, Dean, 21, and Daniel, 19, and two grandchildren, Bethany and Jacob.

In family tributes at her funeral service at the Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium at Ellough, Michelle was remembered as a special lady, likened to 'a bottle of pop' because she was so fizzy and effervescent, and loved life to the full.

Her family said she would do anything for anyone, and often placed the needs of others before her own personal needs. She was one of life's carers.

They said: 'She was there for her mum when she was diagnosed with cancer, taking her for 15 weeks to have radiotherapy treatment; and there too for her dad when he had three major operations in three weeks, always calling to see them both, and running around to help them.'

Her distraught partner, Stephen Hammond, wrote two poems about her which were read at the funeral, conducted by Colin Thomas.

Three of her favourite pieces of music, Say You Won't Let Go, Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl and Lay Me Down, were also played.

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