Inquest hears Fareham man died after accident in Spain left him paralysed

Michael Orridge
Michael Orridge

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AN ‘INSPIRATIONAL’ teacher, from Fareham, was paralysed and later died when he dived head first into shallow water while on holiday with friends, an inquest heard today.

The hearing into the death of Michael Orridge was told he had run down the beach to the sea and leapt towards the water, when he realised it was shallow.

Fearing he would break his arms, the 28-year-old moved them to his side but landed on his head, breaking his neck.

Portsmouth Coroners Court heard doctors operated on Mr Orridge to straighten his neck, although they could not fix the paralysis.

However, during one of the procedures carried out at a hospital in Seville, Spain, complications caused his heart to stop. When doctors gave him drugs to kick-start his heart, it caused a haemorrhage in his brain which killed him.

Speaking after the hearing, held yesterday, Mr Orridge’s mum Lorraine said her son had done more in his 28 years than many would do in their whole life.

She said: ‘Michael really just loved life and did not waste a single second.

‘He had recently changed careers and became a modern foreign languages teacher and had been working in south London. He had found a career he loved.

‘We have been told he was inspirational as a teacher – he did things a different way and his pupils really miss him.’

Lorraine said Mr Orridge had gone to Spain in April this year to improve his Spanish, a language that he taught.

She added: ‘He had gone to Spain with colleagues. That’s how he came to his death.

‘His friends raised £38,000 to try and bring him home, but he died before we were able to do that. We split the money, giving some to Bloodwise, some to Canine Parts and I chose the Big Kid Foundation, which helps children in the area of south London he had been teaching. He always wanted to help and do his best for them.’

The inquest heard Mr Orridge was conscious and talking when his parents arrived from the UK after the accident at Playa del Rompeculos on April 4.

His father Stephen told the inquest his son had tried to stop himself breaking his arms when he dived into the water.

He said: ‘Michael was conscious when we got to the hospital and was talking, although he had a big neckbrace on.

‘After what happened in the water, he knew he was paralysed straight away and thought he was going to die there in the sea because he wasn’t sure his friends had seen what had happened.

‘But they were able to drag him from the water before he drowned.’

Coroner Robert Stone concluded Mr Orridge died of an accidental death.