A POPULAR dockworker was seen to plunge from the Itchen Bridge onto a car park below after losing his “zest for life”.

Ian Bellows had battled tonsil cancer and lost his partner to a stroke, an inquest heard.

He was seen by one witness climbing up the bridge and then seen by another falling onto the water activity centre’s car park below.

A report from GP Mike Donnan revealed that the dockworker from Bassett Road had previously been diagnosed with tonsil cancer in November 2015, receiving the all clear in 2016.

The inquest heard how the father of two, 56, had separated from his second wife Sarah in the spring of 2014 and after a difficult period in his life met his partner Josie Jackson in 2015.

Stella Rodgers, his sister, said: “He had known Josie for a long time but they became soulmates almost immediately.

“If it wasn’t for her I don’t think he would have made it through.”

Josie died of a stroke, in June 2016, aged 44.

Stella said: “He had lost his zest for life.”

His daughter Karen Bellows said that just before his death in May, her father had visited The Saints Pub in Milbrook, where he was a regular and made an effort to say goodbye to everyone.

A note to Karen was found in her father’s apartment, but it was unclear whether it was meant to be a suicide note.

His sister said: “We haven’t found anything that gives us any answers.”

Senior coroner Grahame Short ruled Mr Bellow’s death as suicide. He said: “It was the act of a man who wasn’t thinking rationally, who left a family who clearly loved him deeply.”

A statement from the Bellows family said: “Ian was an amazing dad and grandfather, and much loved friend and colleague to many.

“In the last two years he coped with cancer which he beat, and the sudden loss of his beloved Josie who was just 44.

“Despite the love and support of his family, and his wonderful work colleagues at Southampton Docks, it was just too much to bear.

“The world will be a sadder place without him.”

Mr Bellows’ funeral was attended by more than 400 people and workers at the docks held a minute’s silence and set the cranes at half mast.