Sarah Ferguson reveals EMOTIONAL pledge to parents of Pret allergy death teenager
Sarah Ferguson has spoken out about how she comforted the family of a teenager who died after eating a Pret-A-Manger baguette on a flight and called for food retailers to improve the food allergy information on packaging.
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The Duchess of York, who herself is a mother to Princess’ Eugenie and Beatrice, has opened up about how she comforted the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse as they flew back to the UK with their daughter’s body.
Mrs Ferguson confirmed she was on the same British Airways flight as the girl’s grief-stricken parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan Laperous and had also attended the teenager’s funeral.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Duchess said: “What they have done with this breakthrough of getting Pret-A-Manger to change the labelling and to address this situation is extraordinary.
“I encourage more retailers to do this too. I think the Government hopefully will close the loophole now. They need to close that loophole in Natasha’s name.”
The Duchess said she spotted Natasha’s parents “in extreme distress” as they waited to board the same flight back to the UK.
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Mrs Ferguson said: “I said to the lady I was with, ‘They really do look unhappy. Is there anything I can do? Goodness, this is really serious.’ I was very worried.
“When we got on the airplane I was sitting right behind them. There was no way I could sit there, being this person that I am, and not try to do something. I said: ‘Is there anything I can do?’
“It was quite extraordinary. They wanted to start talking about Natasha. Her coffin was in the airplane hold. Tanya, oh my gosh, my heart completely just went to her. She didn’t get to say goodbye to her daughter.”
Natasha suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a sandwich that contained traces of sesame seeds on a flight to Nice, France, with her father and her best friend.
At present, food labelling rules differ depending on whether food is made in store or in a factory.
Mr Ednan-Laperouse said the rules had “played Russian roulette” with Natasha’s life and resulted in her death.
At the teenager’s inquest last week, coroner Dr Sean Cummings branded food labelling laws as inadequate.
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The jury heard there had been no warning or indication on both the package and shelving that the baguette contained sesame seeds when Natasha bought the sandwich from a Heathrow brand of the chain.
Mrs Ferguson told how she felt helpless in comforting the grieving parents, saying: “I didn’t really know how on earth I could help them, except by listening, which is sometimes enough. I said: ‘All I can do is always be here for you.’
“I said: ‘What did she love?’ I was trying to make them talk about her extraordinary life. She loved flying, she wanted to be a helicopter pilot, she was so pretty and so full of joy.
“As I left, I took one of my bracelets off and gave it to Tanya. She still wears it. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes, and I wouldn’t want to be Tanya and Nadim. He couldn’t save his daughter.”
This week Pret Chief Executive Clive Schlee pledged to start a labelling trial, starting in November, with a view to expanding throughout all UK stores.
Natasha’s parents spoke of their pain on ITV’s This Morning with presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on Monday where Natasha’s parents revealed that they had met Mrs Ferguson when boarding their flight.
They retold how the couple and the Duchess has then started to talk about their daughter, and the Duchess of York spoke to them for most of the journey home.
Natasha’s mother said: “She was so heartfelt and wanted to help us in any way she could.
“She said she would support us all the way through.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK