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Phil Spencer says brother tried to save parents by cutting their seatbelts with a penknife after river crash

TV star said family are ‘desperately sad and shocked beyond all belief’ but his parents died ‘together on the farm they loved’

Ellie Iorizzo
Monday 21 August 2023 13:08 BST
Phil Spencer shared this image of his late parents, after they died together in a car crash on their farm in Kent
Phil Spencer shared this image of his late parents, after they died together in a car crash on their farm in Kent (Instagram)

Phil Spencer has revealed that his brother tried to save their parents after their car crashed into a river, as he paid tribute to them in an emotional statement on Instagram.

The TV star’s mother Anne and father David died on their farm in Littlebourne, Kent, while the couple were on their way to lunch on Friday (18 August).

On Instagram, Spencer, 53, said: “Very sadly both of my amazing parents died on Friday.

“As a family we are all trying to hold on to 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), Mums Parkinson’s and Dads 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.”

Spencer, best know for the Channel 4 property show Location, Location, Location, said the accident is “what God had planned for them” so the couple could stay together after six decades of marriage and four children.

Describing the moments before the accident, he wrote: “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 and managed to climb out of a back window so the alarm was raised quite quickly.”

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Spencer said his brother was able to get to the car and cut his parents’ seat belts with a pen knife.

“He pulled them out of the river but they never regained consciousness,” he said.

Kent Fire and Rescue service was called and spent 90 minutes at the scene.

Spencer said the family are “desperately sad and shocked beyond all belief”, but are clear that “if there can ever be such a thing as having a ‘good end’ – this was it”.

He added: “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.

(@philspencertv/twitter)

“Mum and Dad are together, which is precisely where they would have wanted to be.”

Spencer’s co-presenter Kirstie Allsopp asked fans to join her in “sending so much love” to his family following the deaths.

On Instagram, the 51-year-old wrote: “This lovely photograph, recently taken at their home in Kent, is of Anne and David Spencer, I am desperately sad to have to say that they were both killed yesterday in a car accident near their home.

“They were farmers, animal lovers and devoted parents to Robert, Caryn, Helen and Philip and adored their eight grandchildren, the only blessing is that they died together, so will never have to mourn the loss of each other.”

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