Grandmother suffered brain injury while swimming
PUBLISHED: 11:25 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:55 25 August 2020
A grandmother who died following an accident while swimming at Overstrand had suffered a brain injury, an inquest has heard.
Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, opened the hearing into the death of Sylvia Robin Spruce, 77, who was known by her middle name.
Ms Blake said Mrs Spruce was born on April 15, 1943 in London and was a retired administrator who lived in Briston.
She said the medical cause of death was global hypoxic brain injury due to drowning, and adjourned the inquest until November 19.
Mrs Spruce died on August 16, five days after the fatal accident on August 11.
Afterwards, her husband, Noel Spruce, 75, paid tribute to her, speaking of her love of family, the theatre, gardening and volunteering.
Mrs Spruce volunteered for 15 years with the LAMS (Life and MS) Day Group at Southrepps, and had also volunteered for 10 years with Victim Support. She is also survived by her daughter and two teenage grandchildren.
Paying tribute last week, Mr Spruce told of the tragic incident, saying: “I went in for a dip first. There were some breakers about five-10m out, and I got bowled over a couple of times.
“I said to her: ‘just be careful if you go out’. She went in for a dip, and about 10 minutes later I heard this commotion in front of me, and saw two young men struggling to lift a body over the breakwater.
“I ran forward and that’s when I discovered, to my horror, that it was my wife.”
Mr Spruce said people on the beach including two off-duty nurses and a fireman did their best to help before the police, Coastguard and ambulance officers arrived.
He added: “We can only conclude that she was struck over by the breakers and probably struck her head on the sea bed. She never regained consciousness.”
Mr Spruce said his wife was a strong swimmer, which only emphasised the dangers of beach swimming.
Mrs Spruce was born and raised in London, and lived in Jamaica with her first husband for eight years. She returned to Britain in 1981 and lived with her mother in Little Snoring.
She met Mr Spruce, who was originally from Cheshire, the following year, and they married in 1986.
The couple ran an architectural practice in north Norfolk for about 30 years, and they also ran a wine bar in Holt called Balthazar from 2000 to 2004.
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