Retired March police officer dies at Florida SeaWorld

RETIRED Fenland police officer Ivan Henson of March has died while on holiday at a water park in Florida.

The former inspector, 68, suffered a fatal heart attack while on an action ride at SeaWorld’s Aquatica Park, Orlando. He was pulled from the water by lifeguards and the attraction evacuated for around an hour as paramedics tried to save him.

His son, Stuart, who flew out to America to accompany his mother, Marjorie, back to England has spoken of the devoted family man who died, as he would have wished, having a fun time.

Stuart of Bishop Stortford, received a telephone call last Monday evening telling him of the tragedy and flew out the following day to be with his mother. He said: “He had been absolutely fine while on the two-week holiday. It all came extremely suddenly and was near enough instantaneous. Given the choice I am sure that is the way he would have wanted to go - enjoying himself and having fun.”

Mr Henson was born in March and attended the town’s grammar school. He married Marjorie 46 years ago and as well as Stuart, the couple have a daughter Christine who lives in London.

Stuart said: “He was born and bred in March and was fiercely proud of his own town. He was a real community man and a family man who always put mum first and then his immediate family.

“He loved sport and a pint. He was one of my best mates and we have had some good times over the years. He knew everyone and he will be greatly missed. At the age of 68 he had suffered a couple of minor ailments but nothing to suggest that this would happen.”

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Mr Henson served 36 years with the former Isle of Ely constabulary and later Cambridgeshire police. He joined as a police cadet and retired in 1995.

A kind and sensitive man, Mr Henson once told the Cambs Times he could never get used to having to visit relatives to tell them a loved one had died in an accident. He said: “ Although having to do it many times, I never found an answer to how to do it without feeling upset myself.”

A Cambs police spokesman said: “Ivan was one of life’s gentlemen. He was a fine policeman and very well known. He will be much missed.”

After retirement from the police Mr Henson went on to have a second career at Ridgeons of March where he worked as a security officer.

Mr and Mrs Henson of Cavalry Drive loved holidaying in America and had visited Memphis, Las Vegas and San Francisco on previous trips.

The family are expecting Mr Henson’s body to arrive back in this country sometime this week when they can decide on funeral arrangements.

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