09th Sep 2020
The morning of Monday 7th September was very ordinary. Peter went out early for a walk in the National Trust’s Black Down, then returned home for breakfast. Very sadly, when he went to the bathroom to take a shower, he suffered from a burst brain aneurysm and collapsed.
His wife Christina called an ambulance; the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex attended. Both teams worked tirelessly to help Peter re-gain consciousness. They established quickly that the problem was neurological, intubated him and made the decision to transfer him in the air ambulance to St George’s Hospital in London.
Unfortunately it was determined that nothing could be done to save Peter. He was monitored for two days for brain activity before the decision was made to turn off his life support. Peter passed peacefully on 9th September 2020 at the age of 78.
His wife Christina said: “I will forever be grateful to the paramedics and Helimed crew and all the doctors and NHS staff who attended to him with so much professionalism, compassion and dignity. And I am thankful that Pete collapsed at home (as opposed to on his earlier walk in the woods this morning) and that I could hold and comfort him for those final 10 minutes before he lost consciousness. I am glad that he did not have to suffer. As a friend of mine put it - “if Peter had written his final chapter, it would have been as swift as this” and she was right. Pete was not afraid of dying, but he was very afraid of becoming mentally or physically incapacitated. He wanted to live life, but on his terms.” And he did.
A tribute to the life of Dr Peter Icke:
Peter was born in Buckinghamshire in 1942 as the second son of a school master and a nurse. He had a modest upbringing, growing up as one of three children through the 40s and 50s. He was always driven by academic achievement, and was the first at his grammar school to hold a pilot’s licence whilst still a student. He could fly before he could drive.
Self-made and self-reliant, he sought little assistance from others. When Peter left school he went straight into work rather than to university. He had a job that he did not enjoy, and made the decision instead to enrol in flying school with British Overseas Airways Corporation (which went on to become British Airways).
Peter was a pilot for British Airways for 30 years and became a captain with them by the age of 30. As a result he got to see a lot of the world through his work, and took his two sons, Philip and Marcus to places that fascinated their school friends.
He met Christina in Berlin in 1982; they were introduced by a mutual friend. It was a lucky meeting because of the unique political situation in Berlin at that time. Only allied personnel, i.e. pilots from BA, Air France or Pan-Am were allowed to operate daily services in and out of West Berlin, and Peter was one of these pilots. Christina joined Peter in the UK in 1985.
Peter and Christina spent five years living in Villeneuve-sur-Lot in the south of France after they were married. He took early retirement before they left France at the age of 53. They moved back to the UK in 1996 having fallen in love with a snow-covered Haslemere when driving through it to visit Peter’s son in Epsom in Christmas of 1995. He extended and completely renovated the house after they moved in, and always took care of everything at home. Being an active and talented man he was easily bored, and was never without a project to keep himself busy.
Being retired gave Peter more time for his hobbies. He was a man of many talents, but was often self-deprecating, and would be the first to admit that cooking wasn’t one of them. Every task he undertook was done with the intention of mastering it. He had a keen interest in photography and was a skilled artist who enjoyed drawing. Although he never trained as one he was a keen engineer, who over the years restored classic cars, motorbikes, even clocks and radio sets.
Peter inspired a high degree of respect from all who knew him. At the age of 64 he decided to get a degree. He completed a year as an undergraduate in history at Chichester University, but was encouraged by his lecturer Professor Keith Jenkins to undertake a PhD in philosophy instead, which he completed within three years. He went on to have a book on the topic published ‘Frank Ankersmit's Lost Historical Cause: A Journey from Language to Experience’.
Peter was exceptionally active for his age and always did three hours of exercise a day. He was a regular at his gym’s spin classes and loved by the other attendees who became his friends - he would take a spanner with him to adjust their bikes for them.
Peter had registered as an organ donor. Having a terrific sense of humour, he would joke with Christina and asked her to “Just make sure I’m dead first.” When he died his decision to become an organ donor helped to save three other lives as his kidneys and liver were able to be transplanted. This decision was a true testament to the way Peter lived his life, doing as much as possible to help other people.
Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex are very grateful to Peter’s family and friends, who made donations to the charity in his memory after his death.
Peter is survived by his wife Christina, his two sons from his first marriage, and his five grandchildren.