An ‘extraordinarily charitable’ British-Indian couple died after suffering heart attacks in the swimming pool at their home in Essex.
Retired surgeon Aqeel Siddique, 79, and his wife Nayyar were found by their son Dr Haroon Siddique at their luxury home in Thorpe Bay on 15 July.
Mrs Siddique had reportedly suffered a heart attack whilst taking her daily morning swim. Her husband is then said to have jumped into save his wife before tragically suffering a massive heart attack. The couple were declared dead at the scene by paramedics.
The India-born couple first moved to England in 1962 so that Mr Siddique could study medicine. They had since made a name for themselves through their tireless charity work.
Mr Siddique worked as a surgeon in Lesotho while Mrs Siddique worked for the Save the Children charity in the poverty-stricken nation.
The couple had travelled to Lesotho in 1969 with their two children, Saima and Haroon, for Mr Siddique’s first surgical placement. He would become the first surgeon in the tiny southern African state.
Mr Siddique developed many new medical services to help residents especially in the more remote areas of the country.
He repeatedly refused to move into the private sector, wanting to help those who needed it most.
His hard work and dedication to the people of Lesotho meant he was awarded an OBE in 1973, aged just 38.
His son said: “My father dedicated his life to helping people and he died trying to help my mother.
“We are very proud of everything they achieved and that gives us some solace. They were amazing people and were amazing examples to follow.”
A memorial service is being organised in their honour in Lesotho. Members of the country’s royal family remained close to the Siddique’s.
Dr Siddiqui added: “Though they met many famous and important people in their lives, they remained humble people.
“My father’s passion and joy was the work he did as a surgeon, helping and treating the poor and needy people in Lesotho.”