British mayor dies while scuba diving near Durban

14 January 2019 - 10:32 By Nico Gous
Nigel Gawthrope died shortly after saying he felt unwell after surfacing from a scuba dive off the KZN coast.
Nigel Gawthrope died shortly after saying he felt unwell after surfacing from a scuba dive off the KZN coast.
Image: Facebook/Nigel Gawthrope

The mayor of Cambridge in the UK, Nigel Gawthrope, died on Friday while scuba diving in South Africa.

"The council’s thoughts are with his wife Jenny, the mayoress, who was with him, and with his family and friends and close council colleagues as they come to terms with this devastating loss. The exact cause of Cllr Gawthrope’s death has yet to be confirmed," Cambridge City Council said in a statement on Sunday.

The Mail Online reported, Gawthrope was taking part in a morning dive at Aliwal Shoal on the Kwazulu Natal coastline.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the 61-year-old went into cardiac arrest after surfacing from the dive.

"NSRI Station 39 Rocky Bay, Netcare 911 ambulance services, eThekwini Surf Lifesaving lifeguards and police search and rescue responded and rendezvoused with the dive boat on its arrival on-shore and despite extensive CPR efforts by paramedics the man was declared deceased," the NSRI said in a statement.

Gawthrope was a city councillor for seven years and became mayor in May 2018.

Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert said Gawthrope’s death "is a massive shock and hurts us all at the city council".

"I have talked today (Sunday) to Jenny, his wife and our mayoress, and passed on our condolences and deepest sympathies, and we are so glad that Nigel’s brother is flying out Monday to support her when she most needs it," Herbert said.

"Nigel made time for everyone, doing exactly what he excelled earlier at locally, connecting as mayor with all the hundreds of people he met across our city, and particularly with volunteers and staff and people benefiting from the many organisations we work with to help those most in need across Cambridge."

According to the city council, Gawthrope was a keen motorcyclist, experienced scuba diver and a Leeds United supporter.

Still can't believe the sad news we've all been waking up to this morning in Cambridge. For a city to lose its incumbent...

Posted by Matt Webb on Sunday, 13 January 2019