THE village of West Lavington, near Devizes is in mourning for charity worker Miranda Harris who died in South Africa after a car plunged from a bridge into a river 75ft below.

Mrs Harris, 66, died along with friends Chris and Susanna Naylor while her husband Peter, 67, was seriously injured. Yesterday the retired vicar was said to be improving.

The four who all worked for the Christian charity A Rocha International were passengers in a car travelling to the airport when their car was blown off the bridge in Port Elizabeth.

This week Marion Harrison, vicar of All Saints Church, West Lavington, who was a personal friend of Mrs Harrison spoke of her special qualities.

She said: “Miranda had an aura. When she walked into a room she lit it up with her presence. The whole village is shocked and devastated by the accident.

“On Sunday we remembered Miranda and we said prayers for Peter’s recovery. They were such a lovely couple it is just such a tragic thing to have happened. Everyone here is finding it hard to take in.”

Wiltshire councillor for West Lavington Richard Gamble said: “I knew Miranda and Peter and am very saddened to hear of her untimely death and his injury.”

Mr Harris’ four children Esther, Jo, Jeremy and Beth are at his bedside and he has been told of his wife’s death.

On Tuesday the children wrote: “Peter has taken some extremely positive steps.

“He has finally been taken off the ventilator and is breathing well on his own. He has also eaten his first solid food for a week now that the feeding tubes have been removed.

His pain is being managed but is still very apparent; however he is able to talk lucidly, which is exciting. He is likely to be out of Intensive Care within two to three days.

In an earlier post the family thanked everyone who tried to help after the accident and wrote: “We are so full of thanks for your prayers and faithful support over the past days.

“We write from the hospital where dad is now taking breaths for himself. We have been able to communicate with him in small windows and we are awed by his faith and strength even when it is so costly for him.

“He has many broken bones. We know a little more of what he has been through.We have heard some of the stories of the many people who dropped everything and ran to help and without whom Dad would not have lived.”

David Bookless a director A Rocha said a service for Mrs Harris will be held in West Lavington once Mr Harris is well enough to travel and memorial service will be held in 2020.

Mr and Mrs Harris set up A Rocha, which works all over the world, in 1983 and lived in many different countries before settling in Wiltshire to be close Mrs Harris’ mother and two of their children in Bath.