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Ringwood woman Catherine Farnish died after hitting head, inquest told

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A FORMER swimming instructor from Ringwood died after falling and hitting her head in what was described by a coroner as "a tragic accident".

Catherine Farnish (58), of Poplar Crescent, passed away on 5th September last year at Southampton General Hospital a day after the accident at home, an inquest was told.

Winchester Coroners' Court heard a statement from her husband of over 30 years, Philip, who said the pair had watched television before deciding to head to bed some time between 10.30pm and 11pm.

The hearing took place at Winchester Coroners' Court
The hearing took place at Winchester Coroners' Court

He said he had given a goodnight kiss to Cathy, as she was known, at the bottom of the stairs before he made his way to the kitchen to make her a hot water bottle.

He said he then heard a "very loud bang" and found her unconscious at the bottom of the stairs.

Mr Farnish called the emergency services who sent an ambulance, and paramedics treated Cathy at home before transferring her to Southampton General Hospital.

However, her condition was unsurvivable and she died later. A post-mortem examination ruled her cause of death was due to a traumatic head injury.

She was described in a statement by Mr Farnish as "loving, compassionate, warm and welcoming" who was a friend to many and a great listener.

The inquest heard that Mrs Farnish had suffered a number of health problems over the years, including a stroke and seizures.

In April last year she had undergone a coronary angiogram, a type of X-ray used to check blood vessels.

The inquest, which was attended by family members, heard that Mrs Farnish had complained of leg pain following the procedure and her leg had given way a few times.

Mrs Farnish was a swimming instructor but a horse riding accident in 2003 in which she damaged her leg meant she could no longer continue.

She was an animal lover and over the years had a collection of pets and animals she had helped to rescue, including cats, dogs, hedgehogs, squirrels and ducks.

Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp recorded a verdict of accidental death and called Mrs Farnish's fall "a tragic accident".

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