Farewell to lake tragedy victims

By Shaun LowthorpeBENEATH a clear blue sky, hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of two men who were killed in a lake accident.The pair - lifeboatman Charles Buckenham, 52, and his stepfather Brian Dove, 55 - were found dead in a shipwreck salvage tanker at Lake Lothing.

By Shaun Lowthorpe

BENEATH a clear blue sky, hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of two men who were killed in a lake accident.

The pair - lifeboatman Charles Buckenham, 52, and his stepfather Brian Dove, 55 - were found dead in a shipwreck salvage tanker at Lake Lothing.

It is thought welder and father-of-three Mr Buckenham rang 999 on his mobile before climbing into the steel tanker to help his stepfather, who had collapsed.


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The two men, both employed by the Lowestoft marine engineering company Small and Co, had been working inside one of four partly submerged tanks on March 5.

Rescue crews found their bodies seven hours later at the bottom of the tank and an investigation into the accident has been launched.

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Lifeboat crews from across the region - including those from Cromer, Wells, Gorleston and Southwold - were among the mourners forming a guard of honour at the entrance of the church yesterday.

There was standing room only inside as four pallbearers from the Lowestoft lifeboat station carried the coffin of Mr Buckenham, which was draped by the RNLI flag, into the town's St Margaret's Church, followed by 10 fellow crewmen.

Close behind was the coffin of his stepfather, as both families wanted a joint funeral to celebrate their lives.

There was also a tribute to the colleague they nicknamed Mr Gadget from Coxswain Bert Coleman, who gave one of the three readings.

In a moving address, rural dean Canon John Simpson told the packed church both men shared a close friendship and it was right they should be remembered together.

He said both men had been dedicated to their families and jobs and Mr Buckenham had never been without his pager, even leaving some men stranded in a crane when he raced to answer an emergency.

There were smiles too as Mr Simpson recalled how Mr Dove had made an anchor, which almost capsized his boat.

Recalling the biblical story of Saul and Jonathan, he said the two men's close bond of friendship would continue beyond their deaths.

“Today we add two more valiant names to the list of Lowestoft's tragic accidents for which there seems to be no rhyme or reason,” he added.

“There is a mixture of emotions, guilt, anger, fear, sorrow and perplexity at the events surrounding their deaths.”

Mr Buckenham, of Hardy Close, Lowestoft, leaves behind a widow and three grown-up children.

Mr Dove, of Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth, leaves a widow, 17 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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