The mayor of Cambridge has died following a cardiac arrest during a scuba diving holiday to South Africa.
Keen diver Nigel Gawthrope, who was 61 and on holiday with his wife Jenny, reported feeling unwell on Friday after surfacing from a dive close to Durban.
Shawn Herbst, of Netcare911, claimed that other divers carried out CPR on Mr Gawthrope, but that tragically, his life could not be saved.
According to the BBC, Mr Herbst said in a statement: “Reports from the scene indicate that a 61-year-old male scuba diver believed to be a British citizen on holiday in South Africa went into cardiac arrest shortly after surfacing.
“Fellow divers had initiated CPR while the dive boat raced back to shore, where CPR was continued by an advanced life support paramedic.
“Despite the best efforts to save the man’s life, he was sadly declared dead at the scene.
“Circumstances leading up to the man’s death are at this stage unknown, however the South African Police Service were on scene and will be investigating.”
Cambridge City Council noted on its website that the mayor was an ‘experienced scuba diver and underwater photographer.’
Born in Leeds, Mr Gawthrope was just eight months into his term of office. He was a devoted charity fundraiser and his association with Cambridge children’s charity, the Red Hen Project, was something he was immensely proud of.
He had been a city councillor for seven years and was first elected in 2012 to represent King’s Hedges ward and was re-elected in 2016. Councillors unanimously voted to elect him as Mayor of Cambridge in May 2018 for the current municipal year to May 2019.
The diver was also a motorcyclist and led the 2018 Santa Run as mayor, transporting hundreds of presents to children in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said in a statement on the Cambridge City Council wesbite: “Losing Nigel is a massive shock and hurts us all at the city council, particularly his closest colleagues, and that is nothing compared to the devastation that his close and loving family are feeling right now.
“Nigel represented King’s Hedges and the council with distinction and we will miss him terribly. He revelled in his most recent role of Mayor and first citizen.”
Antoinette Jackson, Chief Executive of the council, added: “The city has lost someone who was passionate about serving others.
“We are all shocked and very sad to lose him when he was enjoying life so much and still had so much more to give the city.”
Main image: Stock photo of South Africa coast