A FORMER businessman took his own life at Poole Quay, where he had raised thousands of pounds for charity by serenading the crowds.

An inquest heard yesterday how stalwart disability fundraiser Percy Toms, 81, had been found floating in the water on February 21 this year.

A mobility scooter he had hired out earlier in the day at Poole Shop Mobility was recovered nearby.

Mr Toms’ wife Barbara told the Bournemouth Coroner’s Court how the retired engineer had been suffering from failing health and had several falls at their Canford Heath home.

She said: “He was getting depressed with life and it was getting to the point where he was finding it difficult to get out.

“Percy was no good on his own and needed company.

“He always ended up at Poole Quay and sang there up until the end. The love of his life was going to Poole and singing.

“The Quay was where he was happiest.”

Mrs Toms said her husband wasn’t able to get out of bed when she left for work on February 21.

She added: “He needed a carer every day and said: ‘I think today is my last day. Just leave me alone; I think I am going to die.’”

When she returned home her husband had gone, leaving his bank and identity cards behind.

Mrs Toms told the hearing: “He was shaky on his feet and didn’t take any of his walking sticks.”

A post mortem examination showed that Mr Toms had been suffering from severe heart disease and had died from drowning.

Recording a verdict that Mr Toms had taken his own life, East Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne said: “I can’t accept this was an accident; I feel he must have deliberately taken himself off.

“He loved the sea; he loved the Quay and maybe this had some significance to him.”

MR Toms had raised more than £11,000 for Poole Shopmobility since 1994.

The charity loans out scooters, power-chairs and wheelchairs to the disabled.

Shopmobility general manager Ross Smith said: “Percy was a great supporter and was awarded lifetime membership.”

As well as singing, Mr Toms was a Freemason and had a passion for sailing and the history of Poole.