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‘Middle-aged gap year’ Briton falls to death taking photographs at Indian temple

Roger Stotesbury’s family said the documentary maker had just finished taking some shots of the scenery from a temple in Orchha when he fell 30ft.

A British man on the final leg of a so-called “middle-aged gap year” with his wife has fallen to his death in India, moments after taking photographs.

Roger Stotesbury’s family said the documentary maker had just finished taking some shots of the scenery from a temple in Orchha, about 160 miles south of the Taj Mahal, when he plummeted roughly 30ft (9m) on Friday.

Mr Stotesbury, a father of two grown-up children from Oxford, was travelling with wife Hilary when tragedy struck. They had been due to return to the UK after completing their Indian adventure.

A family spokesman told the Press Association: “Roger took lots and lots of photographs, and he had gone to take some views from the temple. He put his equipment down and then he fell.”

The spokesman added: “They were the most happily married couple I have ever known. They were just so devoted to each other.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing assistance to the family of a British man following his tragic death in India on October 13. Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.”

Writing on their blog, ourmiddleagedgapyear.wordpress.com, the couple said they were renting out their home and trying to live on £100 a day.

They said: “We are Hilary and Roger a married couple from England/Scotland who are in their mid fifties. Hilary’s motto is ‘just do it’ whilst Roger’s is ‘to die young as late as possible’.

“We took the view that on your deathbed you never wish you’d spent more time in the office.

“We’ve seen our two kids off into the wider world and we have no more caring responsibilities for our parents. So we thought now is the time to take a gap year and travel whilst we still have the health and energy. After all you only live once.”

The couple started with a two-month tour of Italy before taking in south and north America, Australia, and several Asian countries. India was intended to be their final stop, according to the blog.

Describing their motivations for the project, they said: “Rather than drift into comfortable retirement we wanted to do something different. One aim is to experience countries as travellers rather than time-conscious tourists.”

The couple posted pictures of their visit to the Taj Mahal on their website, a day before the tragedy.

In a further statement, released through the Foreign Office, the victim’s family said: “Roger Stotesbury was one of the most enthusiastic men who walked the planet, and was incredibly loved by his wife, children and the surrounding community.

“He brightened every room he entered. He and his wife, Hilary, had planned their round-the-world gap year since the beginning of 2016 and set off on November 1 last year.

“They loved the last 11-and-a-half months of energetic travel, exploring from the bottom tip of Patagonia, right up through the Americas, to Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and finally India.”

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