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21st Aug 2023

Phil Spencer’s brother jumped into river to cut parents free of seatbelts using penknife

Steve Hopkins

‘He pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness’

Phil Spencer has told how his brother desperately tried to save their elderly parents after the car they were travelling in flipped into a river on Saturday and how the family’s grief was eased by the fact “neither will have to mourn” the other.

Phil detailed in an Instagram post on Sunday how “as a family, we are all trying to hold onto the fact mum and dad went together” which is a “blessing in itself”.

The 53-year-old said that while his parents were both on “extremely good form in the days before” the accident at their farm in Kent, his mum, Anne, had Parkinson’s and his dad, Richard, Dementia, which was “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,” Phil wrote.

“That was what God had planned for them – and it was a good plan.”

The Location, Location, Location star, who is one of four siblings, revealed his younger brother, Robert, rushed to the scene and tried to save their parents.

Anne, 82, and Richard, 89, were travelling with a carer who managed to escape and raise the alarm after the vehicle which was “going very slowly, toppled over a bridge on the farm drive, 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,” Phil wrote.

As “many farmers do”, Phil wrote, Robert carried a penknife and was able to cut his parents’ seatbelts: “He pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness.”

Phil explained that he and his siblings have taken some comfort in the tragic circumstances: “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.

“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.”

Phil’s Location, Location, Location co-star Kirstie Allsopp has also paid tribute to Richard and Anne: “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,” she wrote in a post.

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