A FORMER mayor died at her home after falling from the top of the stairs, an inquest was told.

Christine Ford was found at the bottom of the stairs under a stair lift by her goddaughter after suffering the fall at her home in Cunningham Close, Ringwood, on August 1 last year.

Ms Ford, a former chairman of New Forest District Council and an ex-mayor of Ringwood, was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit at the time of her fall.

Her goddaughter, Robyn Cheal, told Winchester Coroner’s Court that Ms Ford used to drink a bottle of wine a night but had never fallen down the stairs before.

However, the 82-year-old former councillor had suffered multiple falls in the six months leading up to her death.

After finding Ms Ford, Ms Cheal rang for an ambulance and police also attended, but she had passed away.

Ms Cheal described Ms Ford as “very independent, very dedicated” and someone who “loved life and loved people”.

She added: “She spent her whole life trying to make things better for other people. She was always a very dedicated person to help those around her.” 

Ms Ford had also worked as a broadcaster for the BBC in the past and was once taken hostage whilst covering the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Ms Cheal, who cared for her on a daily basis, added that she had become “unstable on her feet” in the months before her death.

A post-mortem examination found that Ms Ford had suffered a soft tissue haemorrhage as a result of the fall.

Area coroner Jason Pegg said it was likely she hit her head on the rail of the stair lift after falling from the top.

He concluded her death was a result of an accidental fall, adding that the amount of alcohol in her body was a contributory factor.