Pensioner, 72, choked to death on Christmas dinner in front of horrified family

A pensioner choked to death while eating Christmas dinner in front of his horrified family.

Brian Marshall, 72, had just begun tucking into his roast when he started struggling to breathe.

He had chocked on an unknown bit of food during the dinner with his family at 4pm on Christmas Day.

But despite the efforts of his sister, nephews and nieces, who performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him, Brian then lost consciousness.

Paramedics and an air ambulance team dashed to his nephew's home in Havant, Hants, and tried to save him using CPR but were unsuccessful.

Brian’s sister Mary Hemley today heartbreakingly told how the family had only just sat down together when tragedy struck.

The 67 year old said: "We had only just sat down for lunch and Brian began choking on something.

"He looked at me and I could see he was obviously in trouble – I asked if he was alright and he shook his head to say no.

"He passed out soon after. He wasn't breathing, so my youngest son, who is 40, started doing CPR until the ambulance and air ambulance arrived.

"They were with us for about 45 minutes but he didn't make it."

Just hours before his last meal, a Christmas spread of lamb and roast beef, Brian had been mingling with loved ones and exchanging Christmas presents.

Mary said she is so upset she will not celebrate Christmas again for fear of reigniting the tragic memories that followed.

She added: "I'm not doing Christmas again. Time is a great healer but what happened is just horrible."

Brian, a great uncle to Mary's grandchildren, worked as a draughtsman for most of his life.

Mary said: "He had a dry sense of humour and always knew how to make people laugh.

"Brian had been through a lot in his life but he was a proper fighter and this is such a tragedy. I don't think I'll ever get over what happened."

The family thanked South Central Ambulance Service and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance which attended the scene.

Mary said: "They worked so hard to bring him back and never gave up."

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