Four orphaned as parents die in separate balcony falls
Published 26/08/2011 | 15:57
Four children have been orphaned after both of their parents died in separate falls several days apart on a family holiday in Morocco.
Roger and Mathilde Lamb were on holiday with their four sons in the tourist resort of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic coast when they died in separate incidents.
The exact circumstances of the death of the couple, from Pensham, near Pershore, Worcestershire, are still unknown.
A spokeswoman at the British Embassy in Rabat confirmed reports that Mrs Lamb, known as Tilly, had fallen from an apartment in Essaouira, while her husband died after a separate fall at a different building a few days later.
Today Mrs Lamb's brother-in-law Mark Rogerson said the couple's four sons, aged between nine and 16, are back in the UK being looked after by relatives.
Speaking from his home in France, Mr Rogerson said they knew very few details about what happened, but heard about Mrs Lamb's death last Thursday after she apparently fell the previous night. They then heard about Mr Lamb's death on Monday.
"We heard first of all that he was badly injured. And then on Monday we heard that he had died," he said.
In a statement released on behalf of the family, Mr Rogerson said: "Roger and Tilly's families have been deeply shocked and saddened by their tragic deaths while on holiday in Morocco.
"Our principal concern at the moment is to provide love and support to their four sons who have had to suffer the loss of both a mother and a father in swift succession."
He said the boys were being "well cared for by relatives" and asked for the family's privacy to be respected. He also thanked British consular authorities in Morocco for their help.
Mr Rogerson, who described the couple as "lovely", said geotechnical engineer Mr Lamb worked for some time in New Zealand, and there had been discussions about the rest of the family moving there.
"We knew that there had been discussion of where they might live, but we do not know the details," he said.
"We weren't actually aware that they were away on holiday."
A spokeswoman from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the death of two British nationals in Morocco, saying today: "We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."
Mr Lamb's LinkedIn profile, which describes him as an "experienced geotechnical engineer", says he worked in New Zealand for engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company GHD.
The profile, which says he had 24 years experience in the construction industry and was educated at Birmingham University, describes his interests as "family, fell running and horses".
Mr Rogerson confirmed reports that Mrs Lamb ran a bed and breakfast, saying: "I believe that they took in guests."
The Rev Terry Henderson, rector for Great Comberton in Worcestershire, where Mrs Lamb's elderly mother lives, paid tribute to the couple.
He said they were very much part of the community through their children's school, Elmley Castle Church of England School.
"I know the family very well from a pastoral point of view and I have been speaking to support the family at this time, particularly Tilly's mother who is quite elderly and needs the support," he said.
"In a small rural community like this, when news like that is suddenly made known, the community, because they know the couple so well through the school, are traumatised by it because in a rural community you get to know people very well."
He said Mrs Lamb was chair of the school's parent-teacher association (PTA) for several years and both she and her husband were very involved with the school.
"They were very much a part of the community through the school. I hear that one of her sisters is looking after the children," he said.
But he said it was still unclear exactly what had happened: "There is lots of speculation, nobody knows quite what happened.
"You hear people say 'Oh this must have happened', but it's speculation. Nobody really knows what happened."
Mrs Lamb's body is due to be repatriated to Wiltshire, where some of her family come from, Wiltshire Police confirmed. It is not yet known where her husband will be repatriated.