Wife's fight to save man who died after wasp swarm attack

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The manager of a country estate who died within minutes of being stung by wasps had no idea he was allergic to them.

Guy Canby, 53, was attacked by a swarm while grouse shooting and stung several times on the knee. By the time he reached hospital he was dead. Yesterday his widow, Diana, described how she tried to save him.

The couple were finishing a day out on Strines Moor, near the Peak District village of Bradfield on Saturday, when Mr Canby stepped on a wasps' nest. "He quickly became short of breath. It all happened so very, very quickly," Mrs Canby, 49, said.

She managed to get the 6ft 5in estate manager into their car and drive him to the nearest building, a pub where two doctors were having a meal. They tried to revive him with heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while an ambulance was called to take him to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

His widow said: "It was extraordinary, it was awful. I saw what happened and tried to get him to hospital. I got him about one and a half miles down the road but I knew it was too late. I stopped at the Strines Inn and two medical men came to give him resuscitation.

"I don't know if he died before he got in the ambulance or whether en route, but he was pronounced dead on arrival," she explained.

Mr Canby, an asthmatic, is thought to have been killed by a severe allergic reaction to the wasp stings. While the couple were aware one of their sons suffered from the allergy, they had no idea he might as well.

The dead man, whose sons are aged 25 and 22 and who had a daughter of 19, was in charge of the day-to-day running of the 17,000-acre Fitzwilliam Estate at Wentworth for its owner, Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland.

Mrs Canby said: "I had to sort out some things he would normally do this morning and that's when it hit me. He was liked by everybody, and was much loved. He did so much for everybody. Shooting was a passion. He loved golf and squash."

Severe allergic reactions to wasp or bee stings are thought to cause about ten deaths a year. The sting brings about a reaction called anaphylactic shock. It releases chemicals, including histamine, from the immune system into the bloodstream.

These can cause breathing difficulties and even heart failure. Such allergies can be triggered by one sting but victims often do not realise they have an allergy until they are stung again. The best treatment is an injection of adrenaline.