A FAMILY-orientated woman has died after being hit on the head by a rugby ball as she watched her grandson play.

Following the freak accident, Jennifer Selwood, 69, was treated beside the pitch at Taunton Rugby Club's Towergate Stadium, in Bathpool, before being rushed to Musgrove Park Hospital.

Due to the seriousness of her condition, Mrs Selwood was transferred to Bristol's Southmead Hospital, where she was in a coma for a fortnight before she died on January 25.

An inquest hearing was told the cause of death was traumatic brain injury with secondary aplastic anaemia, which makes it difficult to clot a bleed.

Mrs Selwood leaves a husband Colin, children Clare and Daniel, a coach of junior players at the club, and four grandchildren.

Her daughter Clare Rossiter said: "We're completely devastated, just broken.

"She's really missed. We've got a huge hole where she was. We feel robbed of a mum, a grandmother, a wife."

Mrs Selwood had been watching Daniel's son Ellis playing for Taunton Under 11s on January 12 when she was hit by a ball kicked by a player on an adjoining pitch.

"She told Ellis, 'I'll stay for another five minutes and next thing she's hit by a ball and falls to the ground," said Mrs Rossiter.

"People rushed over to help. The paramedics said she had concussion.

"I was waiting for her when she came out of the ambulance at Musgrove. I said, 'I thought you were watching rugby, not playing'.

"Within an hour they told us it was serious and she was taken to Southmead.

"We spent two weeks driving up to Bristol praying she was going to wake up. Then on Friday (January 24) they called into her room and said, 'We're very sorry, this is the end of her life. There's nothing we can do'.

"She died the following afternoon. It was a complete shock."

This is The West Country:
'FAMILY COMPASS': Jennifer Selwood

As a girl, Mrs Selwood, who lived in Taunton all her life, attended Castle School, where at 16 she met Colin.

She worked at the former Brettons restaurant in East Reach, as a dinner lady at Thurlbear Primary School and in Debenhams offices.

Mrs Rossiter added: "Mum was the family compass. She was a huge part of our everyday life. She was everything to my dad. Life revolved around the family.

"She was very happy, always laughing at something, full of fun.

"She had lots of friends and was always up and about in town with me. She was very busy."

Taunton RFC chairman John Wrelton said: "We're desperately sorry and our sympathies are with the family.

"One of our young players' grandmother was watching her grandson play like thousands of other grandparents all over the country.

"It was a horrible and horrendous accident."

Mrs Selwood's funeral is at Taunton Deane Crematorium at 1pm tomorrow (Friday). For details contact Quantock Funeral Services on 01823 277938.