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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Son finds both parents dead in their swimming pool after they both suffered heart attacks

Couple found dead by son in garden pool of home after husband jumped in to save his wife

Keith Perry

Published 24/07/2014 | 13:38

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Thinkstock Images

A retired surgeon died alongside his wife after both suffered heart attacks in a back garden swimming pool.

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Nayyar Siddique, 77, collapsed during her regular exercise session in the pool of their garden at their £625,000 four-bedroom detached house in Thorpe Bay, Essex.

Husband Aqeel, 79, a retired surgeon who had mixed with royalty, jumped in to save her - but then also suffered a fatal heart attack, and their son Haroon Siddique, 49, found them both later that day.

Paramedics were called but sadly both were declared dead at the scene.

He said: “My father dedicated his life to helping people and he died trying to help my mother.

“We are very proud of everything they achieved and that gives us some solace. They were amazing people and were amazing examples to follow.”

The Indian-born couple dedicated their lives to helping others. Mr Siddique was renowned for working as a surgeon in Lesotho, Africa, while his wife fundraised for Save the Children there.

They had moved there with their two children, Saima and Haroon, in 1969. The family became close friends with Lesotho’s royal family, who still visit Thorpe Bay to keep in touch.

They worked to give aid to poverty-stricken families and had met Prince Harry, Princess Anne, and Pope John Paul II.

They moved to Thorpe Bay to be near their two children and four grandchildren, after ill health forced Mr Siddique to retire as a surgeon in 2012. Mr and Mrs Siddique died on July 15.

Their son Haroon added: “The most important thing was they had been with us and their grandchildren for the last couple of years. They were really dedicated grandparents and being able to see them was a plus for both them and us.”

The couple, who were both born in India, married in 1960 and first moved to England in 1962 so Mr Siddique could train as a surgeon. He qualified in 1965 and went on to Lesotho, where he became the country’s only surgeon in 1969.

He was only supposed to be there on a year’s placement, but the couple’s passion to help improve the lives of the country’s 1million citizens saw them stay.

They developed a strong friendship with the royal family of Lesotho - King Moshoeshoe II and his sons - the current king King Letsie and Prince Seeiso.

King Letsie and Prince Seeiso remained good friends with the family and visited Essex to visit the couple and their two children Saima, 53, and Haroon.

Prince Seeiso, who started the charity Sentebale with Prince Harry, even came over to open Southend Medical Centre in 2010.

Mr Siddique developed many new medical services to help residents especially in the more remote areas of the country.

He repeatedly refused to move into the private sector, wanting to help those who needed it most.

His hard work and dedication to the people of Lesotho meant he was awarded an OBE in 1973, aged just 38.

Their son Haroon said: “My father had a passion for teaching and supported and guided many young doctors in their training who have subsequently enjoyed successful medical careers all over the world.

“My mother was a steadfast partner of his throughout his life and provided her children and grandchildren the support, guidance and love which will remain with them all.

She was instrumental in the early work the Save the Children organisation did in Lesotho and assisted in much charity work. They dedicated their lives to those people. Now we are hearing from people all over the world calling to send their condolences.’

A memorial service is being organised in their honour in Lesotho. He added: “Though they met many famous and important people in their lives, they remained humble people.

“My father’s passion and joy was the work he did as a surgeon, helping and treating the poor and needy people in Lesotho.”

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