Investigation into death of yachtswoman

AN investigation has been launched into the death of a popular yachtswoman who was believed to have died after falling into the water at a marina. Tributes have been paid to Christine Vickers, of Sawtry, who was membership secretary of Shotley Point Yacht

AN investigation has been launched into the death of a popular yachtswoman who was believed to have died after falling into the water at a marina.

Tributes have been paid to Christine Vickers, of Sawtry, who was membership secretary of Shotley Point Yacht Club.

She was found in the water at Shotley Marina in Ipswich, late on Friday night.

Police are investigating the circumstances of her death and a post mortem examination is due to be carried out to find out the cause, but officers are not treating her death as suspicious.

A boat owner found the yachtswoman's body shortly before 9.20am on Saturday morning and alerted police.

Officers attended and requested the assistance of Holbrook coastguards in recovering the body.

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It is not known whether Ms Vickers fell off a pontoon or her boat, the Cramar, but club members believe the accident happened after she left the club late on Friday evening.

A Commodore's Evening planned at the yacht club on Saturday was cancelled as a mark of respect.

Ms Vickers was aged in her early fifties and was a widow. Derek Wapshott, commodore of the yacht club, said she would be sadly missed by many and paid tribute to her enthusiasm.

Speaking from his Ipswich home at the weekend, he said: "Chris has been a member of our club for quite a long time and, although not often enough seen out cruising on her much loved Westerly, Cramar, she did spend a great deal of time relaxing at Shotley Marina on J pontoon.

"At the end of the 2000 season, Chris joined the committee and took up the position as membership secretary, which she had held until the present time.

"Chris's enthusiasm for the club and its continued success was demonstrated through her presence at committee meetings and the support that she gave to events being held ashore and afloat.

"Her absence will be felt by those of us familiar with seeing her walking around the pontoons, visiting other boats and having a chat."

Ms Vickers, worked in IT and spent most of her weekends at the marina.

Justin Smith, the yacht club's bar manager, described her as a popular woman with lots of friends, who could always spare a moment to chat.

A spokeswoman for Shotley Marina said most of the yachting community knew of the tragedy.

"It's amazing that something like that has happened," she added.

A Suffolk police spokesman said they had been alerted to the tragedy at 9.18am on Saturday.

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