A popular Black Country butcher collapsed and died just moments after he was stung by a wasp.
The devastated family of Alan Foster said they were still in shock at the tragedy, which happened at the 72-year-old’s shop in Aldridge High Street, Walsall, on Saturday morning.
It is understood Mr Foster, a senior figure at the Aldridge Traders’ Association, had called in a contractor to remove a wasp infestation when he was stung.
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain, who opened the inquest into Mr Foster’s death yesterday, said he then collapsed in his Alan Foster Family Butcher’s store before being taken to Walsall Manor Hospital where he was certified dead on arrival.
Mr Foster, from Brookmeadow Road, Shelfield, had run the business for 33 years and was a well-known figure in the area, said 44-year-old nephew Paul Foster.
“He was a fantastic man – he was the best,” said the Wolverhampton dad-of-two. “I started working for him 27 years ago and he was a very well-known figure in the town.
"He loved his job and loved his shop. He loved working in Aldridge and was a very proud butcher. Our customers are in total shock. He was a very fit and healthy man – really bubbly.”
Mr Foster’s niece, Pauline Jones, from Kingswinford, said the death had left his partner of 45 years, Peggy Scott, in shock.
“He was such a lovely man. He would do anything for anybody. I never heard a bad word against him,” she said.
Coroner Mr Balmain, sitting at his office in Smethwick’s Crocketts Lane, adjourned yesterday’s hearing into Mr Foster’s death for further enquiries. Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised.
Father-of-three Graham Williamson died two weeks after he was stung by a bee as he mowed his lawn in July 2003.
The 47-year-old was taken to Solihull Hospital after collapsing in the back garden of his home in Hampton-in-Arden.
He stopped breathing after suffering a rare allergic reaction to the bee’s venom.
* A pensioner has died after being attacked by a swarm of wasps in Essex.
The woman, in her 70s, suffered a cardiac arrest after the incident in Galleywood, near Chelmsford, just after 1pm on Sunday. A man was also taken to hospital.
An ambulance spokeswoman said: “It appears that the cardiac arrest was caused by the attack.”