AN ELDERLY Rotary member and respected member of the Shanklin community died following a fall at her home.

At an inquest into the death of Ruth Shepard, Isle of Wight Coroner Caroline Sumeray concluded the 97-year-old died as the result of an accident.

The inquest heard Mrs Shepard was 'an upstanding member of the Shanklin community' who had lived in the town for 66 years.

She was a longstanding member and former president of Shanklin Rotary's Inner Wheel Club, and had a stall at the club's charity shop.

The inquest heard Mrs Shepard fell at her home, at Hungerberry Close, Shanklin, on the evening of May 1, after losing her balance.

The coroner said: "She was wearing an alarm pendant. I'm pleased to say she pressed it, and Wightcare came and took her to hospital."

At St Mary's Hospital, it was found Ms Shepard had broken her arm. An appointment was made with the fracture clinic and she was sent home with a collar and cuff.

The inquest heard she returned home to wait for her family, who had planned to take her back to mainland with them.

Mrs Shepard's daughter had called a taxi to take her mother to the hospital the following morning, but when the driver arrived he discovered she was seriously unwell.

Ms Sumeray said: "It was clear that, on her return home, she had spent all night sat in her chair.

"When she was brought back to the hospital, she was again seen by doctors who concluded she would not be fit for surgery.

"This was the beginning of her terminal decline."

In a statement to the court, Mrs Shepard's daughter, Angela O'Leary, said: "She was an upstanding member of the Shanklin community for 66 years. A member of Rotary's Inner Wheel, she had a zest for life.

"Before she died, I told her it was our turn to look after her, but I think she knew it was going to be quite difficult."

The coroner concluded Mrs Shepard died as a result of health complications following an accident.

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