Orford: Tributes to ‘immeasurable kindness’ of doctors’ receptionist who died in yacht tragedy off Felixstowe
A doctors’ receptionist has been remembered for the love, kindness and care she offered patients and colleagues before her tragic death in a boating accident.
Bernadine Ingram, known as Bernie, was responsible for establishing and running a support group for patients who had been diagnosed with cancer at the Suffolk practice with which she worked for 14 years.
A book of condolence has been opened at The Peninsula Practice’s Health Centre in Alderton, and at Chapman House, in Orford, where the 57-year-old was employed as a receptionist.
Mrs Ingram’s body was recovered from the water off the coastline of Felixstowe the day after a collision between a yacht and a dredger at sea.
Emergency services were contacted at around 1.30pm on Sunday with a report that there had been an accident.
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It is understood that Mrs Ingram was on board the yacht with her husband, Peter, who was pulled to safety and taken to hospital to be checked over. Two dogs were also on the boat but just one was recovered alive from the water.
Mrs Ingram’s colleagues at The Peninsula Practice released a statement sharing their shock and sorrow at news of the tragedy.
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It said: “It is with the most overwhelming sadness that we need to inform our patients that our dear receptionist Bernie Ingram has died. She was involved in a tragic accident whilst sailing off Felixstowe.
“Bernie has worked with the Peninsula Practice for 14 years and was an invaluable part of the fabric of our small surgery. “With her calm and dignified manner, she always worked from her heart and went the extra mile for every single patient.
“Many of you know that she initiated and single handedly ran a support group for our patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. The love, kindness and care that Bernie gave not only to patients but at different times to every member of staff in times of need was immeasurable.
“Our love and thoughts also go to her dear husband Peter, who himself is recovering physically from the accident and whose journey of grief we are here to support. If you would like to, we have condolence books at Orford and Alderton where you can share your thoughts of Bernie.
“Bernie had a deep understanding and love for all animals especially her horses, dogs, cats and chickens. She would always help any animal in need. With this in mind, there will also be a donation box for contributions towards one of Bernie’s favourite animal charities.”
A joint investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision is being conducted between Suffolk Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.