Roger and Hilary Stotesbury had put their possessions in storage and travelled for the past year after taking “the view that on your deathbed you never wish you’d spent more time in the office”
Roger Stotesbury, 58, from Buckingham near Oxford, died yesterday while visiting the Lakshmi Temple in the town of Orchha, in northern India, with his wife Hilary.
Documentary filmmaker and father-of-two Roger, whose motto was “to die young as late as possible”, was standing near the edge of a wall on the second floor of the temple when he fell down down from a height of about 30 feet, police have said.
The mishap occurred at about 4.30pm local time at the tourist site in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India.
The couple, describing themselves as from England and Scotland, wrote in an online blog about “Our Middle Aged Gap Year” which began last November.
They had travelled through 22 countries including Italy, Chile, Patagonia, Canada, the USA, Australia, Japan, Korean, China, Singapore and Malaysia until reaching India as their final stop recently.
They say they put all their possessions in a container on a farm, rented out their house and set off to “experience new things” with a round-the-world flight ticket.
It was a chance to take a trip together as a couple after having children soon after they married.
“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.
“We really hope you enjoy reading about our travels around the world.
“After all, why should only youngsters take “Gap Years”.”
Their last blog post from the trip was photos by Roger of locals on the banks of a river near the Taj Mahal on October 12, the day before his death.
“India is the stuff of dreams, colour, smells, extremes, contradictions and sacred cows,” they wrote.
The couple have two children, who on their blog are listed as aged 23 and 20.
Their original plane was to travel around Europe but the trip planning then became more “ambitious” and eventually decided to go around the world on £4,000 airfares each including 15 flights, they said on their blog.
They had been living on a budget of £100-a-day and believed their trip would be cost-neutral.
Back in the UK, Roger was looking to establish his business, Cut to the Doc, as a producer of online and festival documentaries.
Alongside a pic in China he wrote on Twitter recently: “Found a new DOP in Guangzhou, China.
“And looking forward to returning to filmmaking in November.”
In Venice Beach, he wrote on Twitter: “This round-the-world trip is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
A UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told The Mirror: “We are providing assistance to the family of a British man following his tragic death in India on the 13th of October.
“Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.”
In an FAQs section on their blog, the couple wrote of what they weren’t missing: “English winter weather, housework, daily routine, the pervasive BBC view of the world and Brexit!”
However, they were missing “Our children, friends and local gossip. Playing tennis down the local club. And cycling; although we have hired bikes on this gap year a few times.”
Roger was taken away from the temple on a stretcher and was believed to be conscious at the time before dieing later in hospital.
SP Tikamgarh official Rakesh Khakha told the Times of India: “He was taking selfie and fell down.
“He was rushed to Ramraja hospital where he died.”
The same official was quoted by the Hindustan Times saying: “Other tourists and officials on duty called an ambulance and he was taken to the Orchha government hospital and from there he was referred to Jhansi, looking at the seriousness of his injuries.
“However, his wife insisted that he be taken to Ram Raja hospital in Orchha, where he died during treatment.”
City police inspector DD Azad said: “British tourist Roger James had come to visit Orchha with his wife Hilary.
“Yesterday afternoon, they went to visit the Lakshmi temple.
“It was then he fell off the balcony while trying to take a selfie.
“The man got seriously injured in the fall and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.