Family's tribute to death fall docker

THE grieving family of a trainee dockworker who fell 120ft to his death at a Felixstowe port have paid tribute to him and said he was a 'great man.'Father-of-two Dennis Burman, 51, was killed after falling from a giant crane on the Trinity Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe on Tuesday.

THE grieving family of a trainee dockworker who fell 120ft to his death at a Felixstowe port have paid tribute to him and said he was a 'great man.'

Father-of-two Dennis Burman, 51, was killed after falling from a giant crane on the Trinity Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe on Tuesday.

Mr Burman, of The Poplars in Brantham, is believed to have been nearing the end of his training period, and was on the crane as part of a safety exercise.

He leaves a widow, Janice, son Ross, 16, and daughter Keri, 12. His wife was too upset to talk about the accident yesterday but brother-in-law Peter Norris spoke for the family.


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Mr Norris said: "We are all in a state of shock really - it is absolutely devastating. Dennis was a great family man, he was popular and well-liked."

Mr Norris said that Mr Burman had only worked at the port for two weeks, having been made redundant from Ipswich design company ABT in January, after 30 years of service.

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He added: "Dennis was looking for a new job to help support his wife and family, as anyone would. He got the job at the port and it seemed things were looking up. He was really upbeat about it, he had made some new friends and he enjoyed working there – he kept talking about it.

"We all thought that the future looked really bright, and now this has happened – it is absolutely tragic."

A Health and Safety Executive investigation is under way to try and pinpoint what caused the accident, but the family bear no bad feelings towards the port, Mr Norris said.

"The port have been in contact with us and they have given us all the support they can. Now is not the time for recriminations. We don't bear any grudges whatsoever towards them," he added.

Mr Burman, a keen golfer and fisherman, was originally from Ipswich and his brother and mother still live in the town. He lived in Brantham for 15 years.

Mr Norris thanked villagers for their support and said the family were seeking solace from each other.

"We have come together and we will get through this," he added.

Meanwhile counselling is being offered to workers at the port and the crane from which Mr Burman fell remains cordoned off as part of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation.

Paul Davey, corporate affairs manager at the port, said: "I don't expect there will be any real updates for some time now. We are not going to speculate on the cause of the accident before the Health and Safety Executive conclude their investigation."

Mr Davey added: "Generally people are still in a state of shock about what happened. There's still a small number of people who witnessed the accident who are off work on compassionate leave.

Mr Burman is the eighth person to die in an accident at the port in the last 28 years, with father-of-three Kevin Cuckow, 32, the last to lose his life in October 2000, when he became trapped between a cage and a container over a ship.

The HSE investigation into that accident took more than two years to complete, and resulted in a decision not to take action against the port.

A spokesman for the HSE said: "It is very difficult to predict how long the investigation will take, but it is unlikely that it will last as long as two years."

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