The FAMILY of a pensioner who died after crashing into a fire station have thanked those who helped her on scene.

Sheila Hart, 87, was travelling back from a hair appointment in the centre of Horwich when her car suddenly veered into Horwich Community Fire Station shortly after 2pm on Friday September 13, 2019.

In an inquest at Bolton Coroner's Court today, Simon Nelson concluded that Miss Hart died as a result of a "road traffic collision precipitated by an unsurvivable natural cause".

Speaking during proceedings, her brother-in-law Joseph Staton, thanked Catherine Haslam, a retired intensive care nurse, for her help at the scene.

Ms Haslam had been walking her dog and was returning home when she heard the accident, holding Miss Hart's hand before the ambulance arrived 45 minutes after the crash.

Mr Staton said: "I just want to thank Ms Haslam for the part she played in this tragic accident on behalf of the family.

"We consider ourselves very lucky that you were on hand and we're very grateful.

"We're very sorry for any distress that this caused you."

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His daughter, Carole Cole, added: "Knowing that you gave her comfort in her last hours has given us a lot of comfort.

"It's helped to know fully about those last moments."

Ms Cole sent flowers to Ms Haslam after the accident to thank her for her help, and the pair thanked everyone who had taken part in the inquest.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Staton thanked the police, the fire service, and the members of the public for helping his sister-in-law.

He said: "It's given us the piece of mind that we know exactly what happened now.

"We weren't aware of the fact that she had this embolism and she lived quite a fit life or a person of her age.

"We'll always be extremely grateful to those that were there for her in her hour of need, and for such a clear investigation into what happened to her."

Mr Staton then approached Dr Papworth, the pathologist who carried out Miss Hart's post-mortem examination, to shake his hand and thank him for the clear way he'd presented his findings during the inquest.

Ms Cole paid tribute to her aunt after the inquest, saying: "She had an exciting life and to see that recognised by the coroner is a nice thing.

"I've been coming up from Halifax every week to help clear out the house and I've found so many photographs – she documented all her travels.

"I've learnt so much about the family from this, she has birth certificates from the 1800s, and I wish I'd spoken to her more about her travels when she was here."

Miss Hart, a former civil servant, was born at Lostock Hall Farm in July 1932, living in the Horwich area for most of her life.

She was a keen traveller, visiting Australia, South Africa, and the United States of America.