A FATHER-OF-THREE, described as a “caring family man”, died after choking during a meal just hours on from attending his mother’s funeral.

Alun Howells, from Cwmbran, had been to his mother Edna’s funeral at St Gabriel’s Church, Old Cwmbran, on November 25 last year.

That same evening, Mr Howells, 61, went with family and friends for a meal at the Blinkin Owl Pub in Coed Eva.

An inquest at Newport’s Coroner’s Court heard yesterday he began choking on his steak and chips, and never recovered consciousness, dying in hospital three days later.

At the inquest, his wife, Carol, confirmed her husband had ordered steak and chips, and while eating had began choking. Their son and friends tried to remove the blockage while an ambulance was called.

When paramedics arrived they were able to remove the piece of food and Mr Howells was taken to The Royal Gwent Hospital. But he never regained consciousness and died on November 29.

Mrs Howells said he was a “loving husband” of 38 years. The couple met in a pub in Cwmbran and got married in Holy Trinity Church, and had three children, Lee, Ian, and Kate, at their family home in Upper Cwmbran.

His daughter added: “He was a caring family man who would have done anything for family and friends.”

Mr Howells, a former Llantarnam School pupil, worked for British Gas before taking early retirement at the age of 39 due to a spinal condition.

He enjoyed watching horse racing and was a member of Chepstow Race Course. He was also a keen gardener, and won a Torfaen gardening competition for his plants.

He leaves behind three grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded by Area Coroner for Gwent Wendy James.

She read out the conclusion of the post-mortem examination that said Mr Howells’ death was caused by brain injury complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome.

She added: “Alun and his family and friend went for a meal and during the meal Alun began to choke. Attempts were unsuccessful to remove the blockage.

“I am in no doubt that the choking led to this sad death.”