Phil Spencer says parents would ‘have held hands under water and slipped away’ in emotional tribute after accident

21 August 2023, 08:44 | Updated: 21 August 2023, 08:53

TV star Phil Spencer's parents killed after vehicle crashes into river on family farm.
TV star Phil Spencer's parents killed after vehicle crashes into river on family farm. Picture: Twitter/Instagram

By Jenny Medlicott

Television star Phil Spencer has spoken out for the first time after his parents were killed on Friday when their car veered into a river on the family farm.

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Spencer's dad, Richard, 89, and mum Anne, 82, died on Friday after the vehicle they were travelling in plunged into a shallow tributary which runs through the farm.

Sharing a photo of his parents on Instagram, Spencer opened up about the loss on Sunday.

He wrote: “Very sadly both of my amazing parents died on Friday.

“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.

“Although they were both on extremely good form in the days before (hence the sudden idea to go out to lunch), Mum's Parkinson's and Dad's Dementia had been 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.”

He added: “The car, 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.”

Their carer was in the car at the time of the accident and was able to climb at the back window to call for help.

Spencer’s brother used a penknife to cut the pair out of their seatbelts, but by the time he pulled them out of the river they “never regained consciousness”.

Television star Phil Spencer is mourning a family tragedy after the presenter's parents were killed when their vehicle veered into a river on the family farm.
Television star Phil Spencer is mourning a family tragedy after the presenter's parents were killed when their vehicle veered into a river on the family farm. Picture: Twitter: Phil Spencer

The TV star also said: "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.

"It feels horrendous right now, but after almost 60 years of marriage - to die together on the farm they so loved will, I know, be a comfort in the future.

"Mum Dad are together which is precisely where they would have wanted to be."

The 52-year-old Location, Location, Location, star's parents were driving to a local pub for lunch at the time in Littlebourne, near Canterbury, when the accident occurred.

According to Kent Police, they were called at 12.36pm on Friday following a single vehicle collision.

Both parents were pulled from the vehicle and taken to hospital by air ambulance.

Alongside police, three fire engines are also said to have been in attendance during the two-hour rescue operation, with the addition of a water search and rescue team.

A spokeswoman for the force said: “Officers attended along with other emergency services and a man and woman in their 80s were taken to a local hospital where they were later pronounced deceased.

“A third person, a woman in her 60s, was in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries

“The next of kin has been informed and a report will now be prepared for the coroner.”

The presenter is now said to be grieving alongside his older brother David and younger sisters Caryn and Helen.

Television star Phil Spencer is mourning a family tragedy after the presenter's parents were killed when their vehicle veered into a river on the family farm.
Television star Phil Spencer is mourning a family tragedy after the presenter's parents were killed when their vehicle veered into a river on the family farm. Picture: LBC / Alamy

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Phil’s close friend and property presenter Kirstie Allsopp said yesterday that his parents were together when they died and that would come as a comfort to the star.

Speaking with The Sun, Kirstie said: “I’ve spoken to Phil and it’s tragic for the Spencer family, but his parents were together and that’s something that is a great source of solace to them all.

“The family is very loving and close. There are four children, Phil, Robert, Caryn and Helen, and they had eight grandchildren.

“This is awful for all of the family, but they were together at the end and they were lovely people.

“They were on their way to the pub on a Friday afternoon in Kent, where they lived — they were in the place they loved, with the person they loved.

She added: "They were both people of Christian faith.“Phil and his siblings are all consoling each other at this difficult time.”

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