A HUSBAND died after choking on food at a restaurant while celebrating his 57th wedding anniversary, an inquest heard.

Michael Arnold Pitts, aged 84, of Old Basing, was celebrating with his wife Joan at the Grapevine Bistro in Odiham on June 16, when a piece of ribeye steak became lodged in his throat.

The inquest heard Mr Pitts was put in the recovery position.

Members of the public and restaurant staff performed CPR until before an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.

However, at Basingstoke Hospital, he was declared dead.

Speaking at the inquest at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Monday, Mrs Pitts praised the hospital and restaurant staff.

She said: “There is now a big hole in my life He had a good sense of humour.

“The hospital and their staff worked extremely hard to help Michael and everyone who helped in the restaurant was wonderful.”

The couple had got back from a holiday in Devon the weekend before the meal.

During the meal, one member of staff asked if everything was okay with their food and Mr Pitts reported that the steak was a bit tough.

The member of staff offered to replace the steak, but Mr Pitts joked that “it must have been the cow” and that he was happy with the food.

It was shortly after this that Mr Pitts started to cough.

His hands went limp and he fell back into his chair, the inquest heard.

At the inquest, the manager of the Grapevine Bistro, Sumin Lohani, said: “It was very sad, and I am so sorry for the family and their loss.”

Recording a conclusion of death by misadventure, North East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: “This was a celebration that went wrong, and it was a disaster.

He added: “It was some horrible circumstances for him and everyone.”