‘He was always trying to help people’: Tributes to man who died trying to dig car out of the snow
PUBLISHED: 12:44 04 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:48 04 March 2018
The family of a farm worker who died of a suspected heart attack after trying to rescue a motorist trapped in snow have spoken of how he was always trying “to help people”.
Richard Fiddy, 74, was driving home on snow-covered roads when he came across a driver whose estate car was stuck in a snow drift on a country lane.
He got out a shovel from his Volkswagen Touareg and tried to clear snow from around the wheels of the stricken car so it could grip the road.
But Mr Fiddy of Mattishall, near Dereham, collapsed soon after his exertions in -4C temperatures on Thursday afternoon
The motorist he had helped and a young couple tried in vain to revive him for 40mins until an ambulance arrived at the scene in Bergh Apton near Norwich.
Paramedics took over the resuscitation attempts, but he was dead on arrival at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Fiddy’s stepdaughter Esther Bryan said: “He was strong and it was in his nature to help people. If anyone was in a muddle, he would always go to help.
“It is typical of him to have come to the aide of someone in difficulty. He was a proper Norfolk countryman and enjoyed lots of outdoor pursuits.
“He always had the right tool for a job and was well-prepared for the snowy weather with a spade in his car.”
Mr Fiddy had earlier driven for two hours to drop off his partner Heather Savory in Beccles, Suffolk, so she could get another lift to Lowestoft and meet up with friends to leave the next day on a group trip to India.
The divorced father-of-one then set off home with his 13-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel Lucy, but was diverted down minor roads due to the drifting snow.
MORE: Man dies trying to help dig car out of the snow Miss Savory, 64, who was Mr Fiddy’s partner for 30 years, said: “Richard had a faulty heart valve in 1999 and spent three weeks in hospital. He had been on medication for it ever since.
“But he was always fit and active and was riding his motorcycle until last year. He was clearing snow from his front path on Thursday morning.
“I think the cold got to him when he got out of his hot car which had heated seats.”
“When we were on the way to Beccles, he stopped to tow a guy in a blue BMW who was stuck. He was worried because the guy in the car was out of breath.
“He had to avoid the main road on the way back when he got stuck himself. There was another car in front and he tried to dig it out with his spade.”
Cameron Russell, 20, and his partner Kiera O’Donoghue, 23, who had spent all day helping to rescue stranded motorists then arrived in their Toyota Hilux 4x4.
Mr Russell, who keeps sheep on a smallholding, said: “Richard had been helping this other guy by digging snow out from his wheels.
“I used my vehicle to tow this car free and then we were going to get Richard’s car out. He was walking back to his car and I turned round to see he had collapsed.
“We all carried out CPR for 40mins until the ambulance came, but it was no good. I think he died straight away.”
Mr Russell dialled the last number on Mr Fiddy’s mobile and spoke to one of his friends, who got him to call Miss Savory.
He added: “The temperature in his car was 33C, but when he stepped outside it was -4C. I think that must have got to him.”
Miss Savory added: “The real hero is Cameron and his partner who spent all day helping people in the snow.
“He came to see me at my friend’s house in Lowestoft, bringing the dog, and stayed with me until 1.30am.
“Richard would have been delighted when he had seen this young lad turn up. He would have felt they could have worked together as a team
“He had the day off work because of the weather and was driving me because I was too worried about going out in the snow in my little car.
“The weather was just awful and the wind was whipping up the snow across the fields and making it drift over the roads.”