MARCH: George Cross hero's grandson dies as he phones mum on Mothering Sunday

EXCLUSIVE By Maggie Gibson A MOTHER S Day phone call turned to tragedy for Joyce Dedman as she heard her son collapse as he spoke to her and suffer a fatal heart attack. Mrs Dedman summoned help but her son John was found dead at his home. The shocked

EXCLUSIVE

By Maggie Gibson

A MOTHER'S Day phone call turned to tragedy for Joyce Dedman as she heard her son collapse as he spoke to her and suffer a fatal heart attack.

Mrs Dedman summoned help but her son John was found dead at his home.


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The shocked 81-year-old described how a conversation to wish her a happy Mother's Day turned out to be her final one with John.

She said: "He was talking to me as normal and then suddenly I heard this terrible deep breathing noise. I said: 'There is something wrong with John, I panicked because I knew something was very wrong'."

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Mrs Dedman and her husband Roland of Linley Road, Whittlesey, knew that their 56-year-old son was alone in his East Sussex home. They called his son-in-law asking him to go there immediately. She said: "When he got there it was too late and he called us to tell us the worst. It is such a terrible shock and to happen on Mother's Day."

Before leaving the Fens, John was well known as an enthusiastic and dedicated runner. His funeral cortege will follow his regular running route near his home.

Mrs Dedman, whose husband was village policeman at Benwick, said: "John used to ask if we could walk from Benwick to Doddington, I used to think he was mad. We all thought he was so fit but on a recent visit he did complain about not feeling well. I just thought he had a chest infection."

John was a pupil at Cromwell School, Chatteris, and then went on to join the police force and then the fire service, stationed at Stanground and Dogsthorpe. He ran marathons to raise money for the Fire Service Benevolent Fund.

John was the grandson of Benjamin Gimbert, the March train driver who was awarded the George Cross after helping to save the town of Soham from devastation during the Second World War when a wagon on his ammunition train caught fire. He was blown sky high in an explosion after pulling the blazing truck away from the other wagons.

Mrs Dedman said her son was very proud of his grandfather and in 2006 took part in a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 150th anniversary of the George Cross and Victoria Cross. He acted as escort to the original George Cross.

John leaves a widow, Jackie, children Kevin and Claire, and three grandchildren. His sister, Jennifer Amps, lives in March.

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