A FAMILY lunch in a country pub garden ended in tragedy when grandfather Kenneth Wade, 81, choked while eating a sandwich, an inquest heard on Monday Mr Wade, of Folly Lane, Stroud, died at the Butcher’s Arms in Sheepscombe despite frantic efforts by his daughter and other customers to save him, the inquest was told.

When paramedics arrived they extricated a piece of meat from his airway but it was too late and he was beyond resuscitation.

Senior coroner Katy Skerrett recorded a verdict of accidental death on Mr Wade, who died on March 16 this year.

In a statement, Mr Wade’s daughter Julia said her dad walked to the pub that lunchtime and she and her partner and two children met him there.

He ordered a beef sandwich and his food was first to arrive so he started to eat, she said.

“He started to cough, apparently choking on his sandwich. He stood up from his seat and moved away from us, sitting down at another table a few metres away.

“My partner Adam went to see if he was okay but Dad turned his back and waved him away. Adam came back and said I might want to go and see if he was OK.

“He raised his eyes to me and shook his head but was clearly unable to speak. His left arm raised as if to point to his throat but he never completed the gesture because as he was raising his arm he lost consciousness.

“It had taken two to three minutes between him apparently choking and losing consciousness.

“I shouted to my friend Rachel to call an ambulance. Two people in the garden came to help and tried to get him in the recovery position. It was clear he was not breathing.

“A recently-retired GP then also came to help. Three people took turns to do heart massage. “I tried to blow air into his lungs but it immediately felt as if there was some resistance in the airway so I stopped.

Paramedics arrived 24 minutes after the 999 call and they suctioned his throat and brought out a piece of meat.

She said the paramedics had been excellent and she wanted to record her thanks to them.

A post mortem gave cause of death as asphyxia due to choking.

The coroner said it had been a tragic accident.