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Tributes paid to 'charming' wine industry leader, Patrick Sandeman, after tragic skydiving accident

Witnesses told how Patrick Sandeman collided with a fellow skydiver in mid-air
  • @bobjwilliams

Friends and colleagues have today paid tribute to one of Britain’s leading wine merchants who was killed on Saturday in a tragic parachuting accident.

Patrick Sandeman, 53, who was co-owner of the Lea & Sandeman chain in west London, died after crashing into a fellow jumper 50 feet above the ground.

The collision caused the jumpers' parachutes to collapse.

The 53-year-old father of three, who was an experienced parachutist, died at the scene despite frantic efforts by paramedics to save him.

The second man, who is believed to be in his 20s and French, was taken to hospital with broken legs and a damaged spine.

Emergency services went to Sibson airfield, near Peterborough, shortly after 3.30pm on Saturday, EEAST said, but were unable to save his life.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Speaking to the Evening Standard today Mr Sandeman's widow, Katie Sandeman, 52, described him as a "wonderful man and a wonderful family man."

Friends and colleagues today described Mr Sandeman as 'an inspiration', 'charming' and 'talented'.

Mr Sandeman was a well-respected member of the wine industry and “one of the greatest blokes in the business”, friends told the Evening Standard.

Jancis Robinson, a wine critic who writes for the Financial Times, paid tribute to Mr Sandeman, saying "a very bright light has been extinguished".

She wrote on her website: "I'm sure I am not alone in having found Patrick one of the most appealing and entertaining characters in the wine business.

"A total ornament to the British wine trade, he was a member of the Sandeman family of port and sherry fame, managing to be devastatingly handsome but not intimidatingly so. Charming but not oleaginous. Well informed but engaging.

"Great company, in a word - and extremely talented in his ability to hand-pick great wines from, particularly, Italy. He occupied a unique place in the world of wine.

"I was dimly aware that he was keen on derring do, but he certainly didn't ram it down my throat. He was a thoroughly benign, modernising member of the Vintners' Company, and I have to say that this is the very first death in the UK wine trade that has come as a complete and affronting shock to me, and doubtless to many, many others.

"Our very deepest condolences to his equally delightful wife Katy and their children."