Swaledale cheesemaker died in snow feet from house after son's 21st (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Swaledale cheesemaker died in snow feet from house after son's 21st
AN award-winning cheesemaker died in the snow only feet from her house hours after being the “life and soul” of her son’s 21st birthday party.
An inquest has heard Mandy Reed, who had run the Swaledale Cheese Company for 25 years, was found by police officers in a shrubbery in her neighbour’s front garden in Scorton, near Richmond, 19 hours after having been dropped off outside her house by a taxi driver.
Numerous relatives and friends attended the hearing at Richmond Town Hall to support her children, Louise, 25, and Sam, whose father, David, died of a heart attack aged 46 in 2005, leaving Mrs Reed the sole director of the firm.
Mr Reed said he had driven into Richmond with his mother at 5.45pm on Saturday, February 4, to catch a minibus to celebrate his coming of age at Sunderland Greyhound Stadium.
As more snow fell, the plan was abandoned and the 47- year-old joined her son and his friends drinking and watching the Scotland v England rugby match in the Ralph Fitz Randal pub, in Queen’s Road, Richmond.
She took part in a snowball fight with the group before they went for a curry at the nearby Amontola restaurant, where she continued drinking red wine and paid for everyone’s meal.
Mr Reed, who is now running the cheese firm with his sister, said: “We had just signed new contracts with supermarkets.
It was a good start to the year.
“She was very happy, enjoying herself, getting on with all my friends and cracking jokes like she always used to do.”
After the meal, the group went back to the Ralph Fitz Randal pub, but by 10pm Mrs Reed appeared tired and her son offered to go home with her, but she insisted he stayed out celebrating with his friends. On reaching Mrs Reed’s house in Grammar School Court, Scorton, cabbie Richard Bateman had to help her out of the car and she staggered off with one boot on.
Mr Bateman said: “I wouldn’t say she was very drunk.
“She was heading towards the house and went through the gates.”
On returning home the following afternoon, Mr Reed raised the alarm after finding his mother had not been back.
PC David Bowley found Mrs Reed at 5pm and said he found no evidence of an assault.
Her winter coat was on a bush and there was a single arc-shaped set of footprints in the snow near her body, which had cuts and bruises.
A post-mortem examination found she had died from exposure to cold and acute alcohol intoxication, with an alcohol-blood level equivalent to four-and-a-half times the driving limit.
Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Coroner Rob Turnbull said: “She obviously was a lovely lady.
“If only she had made it through the door, she would still be with us.”
After her death, former Richmond Mayor, Councillor Stuart Parsons, described Mrs Reed as “fantastic, generous and kind”, while David Doorbar, chairman of Richmond Business and Tourism Association, said she had been “a shining example of what can be achieved by hard work, skill and determination”.
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