Family speaks of double heartbreak

A SCHOOLGIRL killed by a train at the weekend was the cousin of a young businessman who died in a car crash a year ago, their grief-stricken family revealed last night.

A SCHOOLGIRL killed by a train at the weekend was the cousin of a young businessman who died in a car crash a year ago, their grief-stricken family revealed last night.

Friends Charlotte Thompson and Olivia Bazlinton were attempting to cross the tracks when they were hit by the 80mph express train at Elsenham, in Essex, on Saturday.

The tragedy comes almost a year to the day after Charlotte's cousin, Sudbury businessman Dan Thompson, was killed following a collision with a heavy goods vehicle.

Last night, Dan's father, David Thompson, said his family were now trying to take comfort in the fact Dan and Charlotte were “with each other in heaven”, and made an urgent call for safety improvements to be made at the level crossing where the teenager died.

“We are all just in total shock at the moment, but we have to believe that they are in a better place and that Dan is showing Charlie the ropes in Heaven,” he said.

“She was only 13 but she was such a wonderful young girl. She and Dan were both amazing people and had the ability to light up a room when they walked in to it.

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“It is so tragic that a young girl should be taken from us. Something needs to be done to make the crossing safer and we feel that this matter must be looked into, so that no one else has to go through what we are now going through as a family.”

Charlotte, who had become a familiar face in the Sudbury area since Dan's death on December 20 last year, lived in Thaxted, Essex, with her father, Pip, mother, Hilary, and two brothers, Robbie and Harry.

It is thought she and her young friend mistook warning signals intended for the oncoming express train to be those of a London to Cambridge train already in the station, which they had planned to catch for a shopping trip.

Speaking from his grief-stricken brother's home, Mr Thompson, who lives with his wife Trish in Boxted, near Colchester, said his family were struggling to come to terms with the accident.

“Pip has been such a support to me over the past year since Dan died, but now the roles have been reversed and he is going through exactly the same emotions that I went through,” he said.

“It is a very difficult time for everyone and we are just trying to support each other. My wife and I had planned to go away for the anniversary of Dan's death because we couldn't bring ourselves to be here. The past year has been so difficult but I just cannot explain my emotions at the moment because I have gone back into shock.”

Dan Thompson, who was a director of Sudbury's Choices movie shop, Reggianno's sandwich bar, and had just opened a new wine bar - later renamed Danny's - before he died, was killed whilst driving along the A134 near Sudbury.

During his funeral at the Holy Trinity Church in Long Melford in January, Charlotte read out a poem which she had written especially in her cousin's memory.

It concluded: “He will be greatly missed, but do not listen bearing a sad frown. For he was also greatly loved and always will be. A fantastic son, cousin, nephew, brother, grandson and friend. He is still with us really. So do not grieve because he has died, but rejoice because he lived. Danno.”

Mr Thompson said: “The poem brought Dan back to life right at that moment.

“Charlie was such a wonderful young girl, full of fun and a real character, and was just a real breath of fresh air.

“There was a strong link between Dan and Charlie. Since he died the relationship between her and Dan's friends grew even stronger than it was before, and she spent a lot of time visiting Sudbury.

“The family just has to take one small step at a time, but we have got to be here for our other children.

“There is still so much of Charlie and Dan left in us, and now we are just trying to remember them at their best. We are hanging on to their love and all the wonderful memories that will stay with us forever.”

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