A RELAXING day playing bridge ended in tragedy for two pensioners.

For Margaret Hogan, 85, from Odiham, and Diana Haslam, 74, of Crondall, died when their car collided with a taxi on the Odiham bypass.

An inquest heard the friends had been playing cards before the crash which claimed their lives on November 14.

Taxi driver Dennis Wheeler said he had taken a regular fare to Tesco in Hook and was travelling back along the bypass to Fleet.

He said he was travelling at about 55 or 60mph but as he approached the London Road junction on the left he slowed down.

Mr Wheeler said that about 100 yards from the junction he saw two cars waiting to turn out of it. One was Mrs Hogan’s silver VW Golf.

He told the inquest: “All I can really say is there was a bang.”

Of the silver car, he added: “All of a sudden it was in front of me. It all happened really, really quickly. There was nowhere for me to go.

“I did try to go round the car but there wasn’t enough room.

“When we met it took us up on to the grass verge.

“I got out of the car wiping blood from my face.

I could feel glass in my forehead.”

A breath test on Mr Wheeler proved negative and he was taken to Frimley Park Hospital for treatment.

Coroner Andrew Bradley told him: “It’s a very distressing set of circumstances and I am sorry to have to put you through it again.”

Police experts found no mechanical faults which could have caused the crash when they examined the cars.

Recording verdicts of accidental death on both women, Mr Bradley said: “This is everyone’s worst nightmare.

“The accident just defies description. Mr Wheeler had between one and a half and two seconds to decide what to do. He ploughed into the side of the VW Golf and that’s the end of the matter.”

Mr Bradley added: “I do not want to criticise older drivers but I want to see a greater awareness of people’s limitations in driving and the fact that there may come a time when people should stop driving.

“No two days on the road are the same and as we get older we must appreciate road conditions are changing every day.”