Family and friends pay tribute to Dr Judy Beard

Tributes have been paid to Dr Judy Beard who is presumed drowned after falling overboard at Eastbourne earlier this week.

Dr Beard had been diving at a wreck six miles off the coast of Eastbourne on Tuesday. As she was getting back on the Betty Louise, she slipped into the water and disappeared.

The coastguard was alerted and lifeboats from Eastbourne and Hastings were launched. A coastguard helicopter was first on the scene and later joined by several fishing boats, a cargo boat and a relief lifeboat.

A spokesperson for the RNLI said: “This is an absolute tragedy.”

“After over eight hours at sea conducting a thorough co-ordinated search of the area with nothing found and with failing light, the search was called off at 9.15pm.”
Today friends and family paid tribute to the 52-year-old mother.

Nicholas Belcher said of his wife: “Judy was an experienced scuba diver and diving with friends from her club. An accident occurred and she was lost into the sea. Judy was loved and respected by many from all walks of life. We wish to thank the emergency services who searched for her in vain with skill and dedication and showed much compassion.”

Dr Beard worked as a consultant haematologist and lead cancer clinician at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne District General Hospital.