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Gardener killed in bush fire

By STACY MOORE Tuesday, April 2 2013

click on pic to zoom in
Errol Christopher ...
Errol Christopher ...

A BUSH fire claimed the life of an elderly gardener in Rio Claro, yesterday.

Errol Christopher, 68, had a passion for gardening and spent his days tending to his crops.

Despite the heat of the midday sun on Saturday which saw pockets of bush fires on the fringes of the northern, central and southern ranges, Christopher spent the entire day looking after his citrus, avocado and coconut trees at Campbell Trace, Rio Claro, When a bush fire started in his garden, it is believed that Christopher tried to save the crops from being burnt. His body was burnt beyond recognition and on Sunday morning, it was found in the garden.

According to a police report, Christopher left his Hindustan, New Grant, Princes Town, home at about 6 am on Saturday.

He parked at a friend’s house and went to his estate at about 9 am.

Police said it appeared that a bush fire started in the garden shortly after midday.

Yesterday, firemen confirmed during the weekend, there were several pockets of bush fires across the country.

Police said when Christopher failed to return for his car by Sunday morning, his friend, together with villagers, went in search of the elderly man.

It was at about 2 pm Christopher’s son, Kerwin, and others found the body. Christopher was a father of eight. Speaking to Newsday, his youngest daughter, Susan Leigh-Christopher, 26, said that her father was regularly visited his estate and had a passion for gardening. “He loved to plant and he was always there planting different types of crop. He enjoyed doing that. He had a passion for planting.”

Leigh-Christopher said she received a telephone call from one of her father’s friends on Sunday, who told her her father was working on the land and there was a fire. “He told me my father was burnt to death,” she said.“My father was one who took extremely good care of his body. He watched what he ate and was a healthy man. It is so devastating for all of us.”

She said the family had planned to visit Christopher yesterday (Easter Monday) at his home. She described him as a loving, generous, kind-hearted father. An autopsy is expected to be performed today at the Forensic Science Centre. Rio Claro Police officers are continuing investigations.

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