Tributes have been paid to a “happy-go-lucky” great-grandfather who worked at Portals for 40 years after he passed away following a fall.

Raymond ‘Ray’ White was walking to his local post office in Picket Piece, near Andover, when he “lost his footing” and fell on the way. The former Portals worker was taken to hospital in Basingstoke, where he developed pneumonia, attributed to the fall, and passed away on July 14, 2020.

Area Coroner Jason Pegg gave a verdict of accidental death, saying that “were it not for the fall it is unlikely he [Mr White] would have died when he did.”

The court heard that on June 22, 2020, Mr White had been walking to the Picket Piece Post Office from his home on Ox Drove, and was said to have been crossing the Locksbridge Park estate at the time.

Mr White’s daughter Belinda, who was present at the inquest, said that she could not be exactly sure where the 83-year-old fell, but that he had been crossing the estate at the time as part of his “incredibly independent” lifestyle.

While walking, she said that eyewitnesses had seen her father “stumble on a kerb” and lose his footing before falling.

“Fortunately there were some builders in the area who came to his aid and called an ambulance,” she said.

Following a statement from Mr White’s GP, Dr Hartley at Charlton Hill Surgery, which noted he had foot pain since April after having developed arthritis in his foot and ankle, the coroner queried whether this could have affected his mobility.

His daughter said that it didn’t have too much of an impact, instead giving him “a bit of a limp”.

Mr White was taken to Basingstoke Hospital after the fall, where it was found he had suffered a fractured left femur, which had left him unable to bear weight on that side of his body. He had also hit his head during the fall, but was found to be fully conscious by medics.

Following an operation to repair the femur on June 23, Mr White “continued to deteriorate and was said to have become “increasingly confused”. He was diagnosed with bronchopneumonia, and despite antibiotic treatment, his condition continued to worsen.

Bronchopneumonia can put additional pressure on the heart, and on July 14, he was moving between his bed and a chair when he suffered a cardiac arrest. He then passed away.

Dr Cadiz, a junior doctor who gave Mr White’s medical cause of death, said that she believed the fracture and subsequent operation “had a causative impact” on his death, with the fall likely to have caused the pneumonia due to his immobility.

Giving their verdict, the coroner agreed with Dr Cadiz, finding that the cause of death was a combination of cardiac arrest, heart failure and broncopneumonia. He found that additional conditions, including diabetes, had also contributed to Mr White’s death.

Paying tribute to her father, Belinda said: “He was a very kind soul, very thoughtful, very happy-go-lucky. He’s just a wonderful man, loved by all the family.”

She said her father had been come from Kent, and for his entire working life in Hampshire, he worked at the Portals mill (now Portals De La Rue), where he helped produce paper for the Bank of England.

“He worked hard all his life,” she added.

Following evidence being heard, the coroner ruled that Mr White suffered an accidental death.