Eastbourne gardener found at the foot of cliffs

Tributes have been paid to an Eastbourne gardener described as “kind and generous”.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 10:53 am
Eastbourne Lifeboat was called to the scene
Eastbourne Lifeboat was called to the scene

An inquest heard Timothy Gardener, of Buxton Road, was found at the foot of cliffs below the Belle Tout lighthouse on February 1 this year.

A statement released by his family said, “Early on, Tim evinced his sensitivity, kind and generous nature and gentle sense of humour.

“He was popular, bright, hardworking - and a perfectionist. After university, he devoted himself to ecology, organic food, and to horticulture. He rented a cottage in Waldron and became a landscape gardener and plantsman, with many devoted clients in Sussex and beyond.

“He had two firm beliefs – one, that a healthy lifestyle obviated recourse to medication – if he felt unwell, he would rest and fast. He also espoused the Bates Method successfully and gave up his strong glasses.

“His other firm belief was his Christian faith. In this he found the perfection for which he always strove.

“However, he was never satisfied with himself and, despite having moved to Eastbourne to help care for his father, early this year depression set in and he seemed to feel out of step with today’s world.

“Sadly, he never realised how much he would be missed by so many – friends, clients and his devastated family.”

The inquest on Tuesday (July 2) heard 44-year-old Mr Gardener’s brother had found a rucksack he believed to belong to his brother on the clifftop, with his work tools inside.

Detective Sergeant Todd Stewart was called to the stand at the court in Muriel Matters House, Hastings. He said he attended the scene where a vehicle had been found at Birling Gap with a note inside.

Lifeboat crews later recovered a body from the foot of cliffs which was identified as Mr Gardener.

Coroner Alan Craze said, “The note makes it clear he’d gone there with the intention of bringing his life to an end. There isn’t any doubt about that at all.”

Speaking to the family present, he said, “It will have been devastating, and you will never forget. It has to be come to terms with.

“It’s our hope the inquest will help you reach some sort of closure over time. I hope it has helped to some extent.”