A community has been left heartbroken following the tragic deaths of a “caring, lovely” couple who died after their car was swept away in the River Trent.
Police said John Lillistone, 83, and Patricia Lillistone, 82, died after their car was swept away by the river on February 1.
A two-week search by specialist teams to find their bodies culminated on Saturday (February 13) after their bodies were recovered from the river.
The couple, both from Lowdham, were described by family as “wonderful” grandparents by their family.
Residents of Lowdham have reacted to news of their deaths, describing the incident as “tragic”.
Councillor Timothy Wendels, who represents Lowdham for the Conservatives on Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “It was an awful incident, but it brings it even closer to home to realise they are from Lowdham. It’s terrible news for the family.
“It’s a tragic story and I’m really sorry to hear that it’s a Lowdham couple.”
Councillor Roger Jackson represents the Southwell ward on Nottinghamshire County Council, which covers the Lowdham area.
He told Nottinghamshire Live: “It’s just tragic, for the family and friends and everyone who knew them. It’s heartbreaking.
“As a council we’ve probably got to see what we can do to stop it happening again, and of course to get some closure for the family.
“It will all go to the coroner for a report and recommendation, but I have had a meeting with county council officers to talk things through.”
He added: “We don’t know what the circumstances are around it, but it’s awful for everybody involved. My heart goes out to their family.
“It was quite traumatic for those that witnessed it – I understand some residents saw what was happening – but there was absolutely nothing they could do.
“That will play on people’s minds.”
In a tribute statement issued by Nottinghamshire Police on behalf of Mr and Mrs Lillistone’s family, the couple were described as people who were “always there” for those around them.
The tribute said: “John and Patricia were loving, caring parents and grandparents who were always there for family and friends.
“Our family is devastated by the loss of two wonderful people and they will be dearly missed by all. We have many happy memories of our time spent together that we will cherish forever.
“We would like to thank the emergency services and other agencies involved for their tireless effort and support at this very difficult time.”
Their bodies were recovered by specialist team including officers from Nottinghamshire Police and the Environment Agency, who used sonar cameras to locate their car and bodies.
Specialist officers had been searching the river since the car entered the water at Hoveringham, with witnesses reporting seeing two people inside.
The car was located on the riverbed days later but had not been accessible due to fast flowing water caused by flooding.
A specialist dive team entered the water at about 10.30am on Saturday following an assessment of the site, and the couple’s bodies were recovered.
A formal identification has now taken place and Mr and Mrs Lillistone’s family have been supported by a family liaison officer.
Inspector Tim Ringer, who led the recovery operation, said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of the deceased who have asked for their privacy to be respected at what I know is an immensely difficult time.”