Emsworth nurse who saved Sir Stirling Moss after dramatic crash in 1962 pays tribute to the racing legend

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A NURSE from Emsworth has paid tribute to the racing legend Sir Stirling Moss following his death today at the age of 90 – having been saved by her quick thinking more than five decades ago.

Sir Stirling Moss was attempting to overtake another driver when he veered off the track in the closing stages of the International 100 race for Formula One cars at Goodwood on April 24, 1962.

Thankfully, the race was attended by nurse Annie Strudwick and her husband Jim, a pathologist and first aid responder, who had met at St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, and manned an ambulance at the track, allowing them to enjoy their shared passion for motor racing.

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Rushing to the scene of the crash, Emsworth-born nurse Annie was quick to see the driver was moments from death – due to a piece of chewing gum.

Sir Stirling Moss driving an historic Grand Prix car after taking part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2011. Picture: PA WireSir Stirling Moss driving an historic Grand Prix car after taking part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2011. Picture: PA Wire
Sir Stirling Moss driving an historic Grand Prix car after taking part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2011. Picture: PA Wire | Other 3rd Party

The 77-year-old said: ‘I could see that he was changing colour and he was chocking. There was no paramedics on the scene at the time. Fortunately I was a trained nurse, and I knew all the drivers chewed gum, so I was able to get it out of his mouth pretty quickly.

‘The car was on fire and incredibly hot – I still have burns on my hands from that day.’

Jim, 80, said: ‘She saved his life.

‘The crash was quite a spectacle, and back then cars were lethal.

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Jim and Annie Strudwick with a picture of them both when they were first on the scene at Goodwood, when Sir Stirling Moss had his accident in 1962. They are pictured in 2014, when they had both retired from the NHS after a total of more than 100 years
Picture: Sarah Standing (141147-1529)Jim and Annie Strudwick with a picture of them both when they were first on the scene at Goodwood, when Sir Stirling Moss had his accident in 1962. They are pictured in 2014, when they had both retired from the NHS after a total of more than 100 years
Picture: Sarah Standing (141147-1529)
Jim and Annie Strudwick with a picture of them both when they were first on the scene at Goodwood, when Sir Stirling Moss had his accident in 1962. They are pictured in 2014, when they had both retired from the NHS after a total of more than 100 years Picture: Sarah Standing (141147-1529) | JPIMedia Resell

‘But it was a piece of chewing gum that could have killed him.’

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Sir Stirling was rushed to the former Royal West Sussex Hospital, in Chichester, to be treated for initially for cuts, head injuries, and a fractured leg. That day it became apparent that he had suffered worse head injuries than initially feared, and he spent a month in a coma.

He retired from racing later that year, holding a record of winning 212 of his 529 races. The driving legend remained a firm friend to Annie and Jim, inviting them to his London home as well as seeing them at races across the country.

Annie, who still lives in Emsworth with Jim, described the motor sport icon: ‘He was a real ladies man – he always enjoyed a cuddle. He was lovely. We became very good friends with his wife, Susie.

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‘The last time I saw him (in 2018), I went up to him and said ‘hello Stirling’, and he looked at me and his face lit up. It’s a lovely memory.

‘He always said to us, ‘you were there for me when I needed you.’’

Sir Stirling Moss died at his London home in the early hours of Sunday morning following a long illness.

His wife, Lady Susie Moss, said: ‘It was one lap too many.’

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