TV star Phil Spencer pens heartbreaking tribute to his tragic parentsAugust 27, 2023
‘Mum and Dad went together. They would have held hands under the water’: Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer says it was ‘God’s plan’ for his parents to die together after their car ‘toppled off a bridge’ on way to their favourite pub for lunch
Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer tragically revealed today how his parents ‘would have held hands under the water and quietly slipped away’ after they were killed in a car crash on the family farm where he grew up.
The TV host’s father Richard, 89, and mother Anne, 82, were pulled from the vehicle after it veered off their access road and went into a river on the farm, but they were unable to be revived.
The couple were reportedly leaving their farm to travel to a local pub for lunch on Friday when their car drifted into a shallow river in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, Kent.
Just last week, Phil’s sister Helen revealed her father had been suffering with dementia as she said she had taken him to the pub ‘for the first time in a year’.
In a heartbreaking Instagram post today, Phil revealed how his parents were travelling with a carer, who was able to climb out of a back window to raise the alarm.
Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer tragically revealed today how his parents ‘would have held hands under the water and quietly slipped away’ after they were killed in a car crash on the family farm where he grew up
The TV host’s father Richard, 89, and mother Anne, 82, were pulled from the vehicle after it veered off their access road and went into a river on the farm, but they were unable to be revived
He wrote: ‘Very sadly both of my amazing parents died on Friday.
‘As a family we are all trying to hold onto the fact Mum and Dad went together and that neither will ever have to mourn the loss of the other one. Which is a blessing in itself.
‘Although they were both on extremely good form in the days before (hence the sudden idea to go out to lunch), Mum’s Parkinson’s and Dad’s Dementia had been worsening and the long term future was set to be a challenge.
‘So much so that Mum said to me only a week ago that she had resigned to thinking “now it looks like we will probably go together”. And so they did.
‘That was what God had planned for them – and it was a good plan.’
He went on to explain how the car, which he said was travelling very slowly, toppled over a bridge on the farm drive before falling upside down into the river.
‘There were no physical injuries and I very much doubt they would have even fought it – they would have held hands under the water and quietly slipped away,’ he added.
‘Their carer was in the car and managed to climb out of a back window so the alarm was raised quite quickly.
‘As many farmers do – my brother had a penknife and so was able to cut the seat belts – he pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness.
‘Although desperately sad and shocked beyond all belief – all family are clear that if there can ever be such a thing as having a “good end” – this was it.
‘It feels horrendous right now, but after almost 60 years of marriage – to die together on the farm they so loved will, I know, be a comfort in the future.
‘Mum Dad are together which is precisely where they would have wanted to be.’
The TV presenter’s parents Richard and Anne Spencer, pictured in 2014
Phil’s (left) Location, Location, Location co-host Kirstie Allsopp (right) paid tribute to the parents of her close friend, and said it was a ‘great source of solace’ to him that they were together as they passed away
It comes after Phil’s sister shared a photograph on Instagram of their father sat at a table being greeted by the landlord.
She wrote: ‘Took my 89 year old Dad to the pub for the first time in a year. He suffers from dementia and although he will NEVER forget the name of his favourite pub (!), he couldn’t quite remember what he used to like to drink there.
‘At which point the Publican arrives, greets him like an old friend, shows him to his usual table and brings him ½ a pint of his favourite IPA!’
The fire service and police officers were called to the scene at 12.36pm on Friday and an air ambulance also flew to the farm.
Richard and Anne were pulled from the car and taken to hospital, but he was pronounced dead at the scene and she died shortly afterwards.
Another woman, in her 60s, was also in the car but suffered only minor injuries.
Phil, 53, spent last night with his younger sisters Caryn and Helen and his older brother David.
Kirstie Allsopp paid tribute to Phil’s parents on Instagram saying they were ‘devoted parents’ who ‘adored’ their eight grandchildren. She added that the only blessing in their tragic passing was that they ‘will never have to mourn the loss of each other’.
Sharing a photo of David and Annie at their home on Instagram, Kirstie wrote: ‘This lovely photograph, recently taken at their home in Kent, is of Anne & David Spencer, I am desperately sad to have to say that they were both killed yesterday in a car accident near their home.
‘They were farmers, animal lovers & devoted parents to Robert, Caryn, Helen & Philip and adored their 8 Grandchildren, the only blessing is that they died together, so will never have to mourn the loss of each other.
‘I suspect many of you may want to join me in sending so much love to Phil and all his family. Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers, Thank you.’
A book of condolence has now been opened at St Vincent’s church in Littlebourne, Kent to the couple.
The pretty village near Canterbury, Kent has been ‘rocked’ by the tragedy.
One local, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It is such a terrible tragedy. It has truly rocked the village.
‘The family are so involved in the community. They are such wonderful people and we are all devastated.’
Kirstie Allsopp paid tribute to Phil’s parents on Instagram saying they were ‘devoted parents’ who ‘adored’ their eight grandchildren. She added that the only blessing in their tragic passing was that they ‘will never have to mourn the loss of each other’
She added: ‘I understand that it happened on a narrow bridge on the private road on their land over the river. It is so narrow you cannot see the sides of it from the driver’s seat.
‘You really have to lean out to see the sides so you can steer the car. I don’t know if the car overturned in the river or what happened but it’s just awful.
‘I heard it was Robert who got them out of the car but I don’t know the exact details. I feel so awful for him. I don’t know who the other woman is but I think it was a carer.
‘It’s earth shattering. The fact they were both together for them was the best thing. But for the family and everyone left behind it’s such a shock.’
The family have owned Garrington Farm for decades.
Phil’s bother Robert runs the farm which has both beef cattle and arable land near Howletts Wild Animal Farm.
One neighbour said: ‘I am so shocked. I was driving home when all the emergency vehicles overtook me and then saw the air ambulance overhead. When I found out what had happened I just couldn’t believe it.
‘They were such a down to earth couple and would do anything to help. I just feel so sorry for all their children. It’s devastating. It’s shaken me.
‘I think the accident happened on one of the two bridges on the road which runs over the river near water meadows. One of the bridges is very narrow.’
Phil and his siblings are supporting each other through the tragedy
Richard and Anne were reportedly leaving their farm to travel to a local pub for lunch on Friday when their car drifted into a shallow river, which is a tributary which flows through the family farm in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, Kent
Phil has spoken in the past about his love of where he grew up and being the son of a farmer (Pictured: Littlebourne)
Another resident said: ‘They are such a lovely family. When the village shop was broken into David and Anne’s son Robert spent all day fixing the door which had been smashed in. He’s a busy farmer but he took time out to help the shop. That’s what they are like – good people.’
Phil has spoken in the past about his love of where he grew up and being the son of a farmer.
He lives in Hampshire with wife Fiona and their two children and has a holiday cottage on the family farm, which his parents were in charge of before eldest David took over.
The charming Kent village of Littlebourne has just 1,500 residents and has long been home to the Spencer family
Phil lives in Hampshire with wife Fiona and their two children but has a holiday cottage on the family farm
Kent Police said they were called to the incident at 12.36pm on Friday to a report of a single-vehicle collision in Littlebourne.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Officers attended along with other emergency services and a man and woman in their 80s were taken to a local hospital where they were later pronounced deceased.
‘A third person, a woman in her 60s, was in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries.
‘The next of kin has been informed and a report will now be prepared for the coroner.’
Also in attendance at the crash were three fire engines and a water rescue unit which took two hours to winch the car out of the river.
It is not known who was driving at the time of the crash.
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