Family’s shock at ‘devoted’ couple’s deaths

The couple were found at their home in Astley Village
The couple were found at their home in Astley Village
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  • A couple were found at their home in Astley Village
  • They have been named as Harold and Joan Riding, who had lived there for many years
  • Police say their deaths are “unexplained” and there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances
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A family is waiting for answers after a “devoted” couple were found dead at their Chorley home.

Harold and Joan Riding were discovered at their house on Great Meadow, Astley Village.

They didn’t have a large circle of friends. They came to family events but they mainly kept themselves to themselves.

Paul Riding

It is not yet known how they died but police do not believe there were any suspicious circumstances.

Cheryl Ward, whose partner Paul Riding was Harold’s nephew, tried to contact the couple after becoming concerned when Harold had not collected a prescription.

She went to the house and found the body of 76-year-old Joan, shortly before 4.20pm on Tuesday.

Cheryl called the police and when they arrived, they also discovered the body of Harold, 81, who was believed to have been dead for some time.

An investigation is now underway to find out how the couple died.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “While their deaths are currently being treated as unexplained, there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances at this stage and we are liaising closely with HM Coroner.

“A post mortem to establish the cause of their deaths will take place in due course.”

Paul, 57, said the police were trying to piece together what had happened.

Cheryl, 44, who also lives on Great Meadow, said: “I’m quite concerned about what actually happened. We may never know precisely but they might be able to find out if it’s an overdose or something.”

Harold grew up in Trafalgar Street, Chorley, and he and Joan lived in Australia and Rhodesia for some time through his work as a concrete piling engineer.

They moved to Great Meadow in the 1970s and had lived there ever since. The couple had no children.

Paul said: “They didn’t have a large circle of friends. They came to family events but they mainly kept themselves to themselves.

“They were a devoted couple. They lived for each other.”

Cheryl said: “They were really nice people. Nothing seems to have fazed them.

“Harold was always very pleasant and I would see him when he was going across to the shop for his paper.”

She added: “Joan was very bubbly and always put a smile on my face.”

Neighbours also paid tribute to the couple, who they said had not been seen for some time.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I hadn’t seen them for at least two weeks. I used to see Harold getting his paper every morning.

“They were an absolutely lovely couple.”

Another woman said: “They were lovely people, absolutely lovely people. When I saw them out they were always asking about my baby.”

She added: “They used to go out a couple of times a week, but I hadn’t seen them for quite a while.”

A man living nearby described the couple as “very pleasant”. He said: “They had lived there for years. They kept themselves to themselves.”