Much-loved pensioner killed in accident on return from holiday

GREATLY MISSED: Christine Ward, who died on Friday, at the christening of Len Jarvis' granddaughter, Megan Roper, in 2008.
GREATLY MISSED: Christine Ward, who died on Friday, at the christening of Len Jarvis' granddaughter, Megan Roper, in 2008.

A holiday with friends ended in tragedy for a Great Cornard woman when she was killed in a collision with a car.

Christine Ward had just spent five days in north Devon with community-run coach group Pat’s Dayz Owt when she was stuck by a Honda car in Head Lane shortly before 7pm on Friday.

The 74-year-old stepped off the coach and was crossing the road on her way to her home in Nursery Road when the collision took place.

Emergency services, including an air ambulance, were called to the scene in an effort to save Mrs Ward’s life, but she died on route to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

She was well-known as a result of her work as a child minder and had cared for countless children in the area, as well as taking on the role of a foster mum.

Patricia Bennett, who runs Pat’s Dayz Owt, said Mrs Ward would be greatly missed.

“We had spent five lovely days in Woolacombe enjoying daily excursions and evening entertainment, but the holiday sadly ended very tragically when Chris, who was one of our regular passengers, left the coach drop-off area to walk home,” said Mrs Bennett, from Acton.

“She was such a big help to me, always trying to help someone on every trip. She had spent the entire holiday looking after a vision-impaired lady, just because she wanted to.”

Mrs Bennett said Mrs Ward, who has four children – Louise, Teresa, Nigel and Trevor – was affectionately known by coach passengers as the “sweetie lady” as she always carried a large bag of sweets on trips.

“She is going to be so sadly missed by one and all, but especially myself, and we send our condolences to her family, with the consolation that she died happy from enjoying her holiday,” she added.

During her life, Mrs Ward, whose husband Bill died at the age of 58, supported numerous charities, was a regular visitor to St Andrew’s Church in Great Cornard and was a member of the village’s WI.

Len Jarvis, who had known her for more than 40 years, described her as a “great friend”.

“She used to look after my three daughters and whenever we had weddings, christenings or parties, I would always see her there,” said Mr Jarvis, from Middle Way in Long Melford.

“She used to child mind for loads of children and she always looked after them well. I am sure a lot of parents and children who knew Chris remember her with fondness.”

Flowers have been laid outside the New Life Church in Great Cornard, close to the spot where Mrs Ward was struck.