Father pays tribute to accident victim

A DEVASTATED father has paid tribute to the “love of his life” who died in a car accident close to a travellers' camp in a Suffolk forest.Kelly Baker, 28, was practising in a vehicle given to her by her father Mark, 51, when the accident took place on the western fringe of Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

A DEVASTATED father has paid tribute to the “love of his life” who died in a car accident close to a travellers' camp in a Suffolk forest.

Kelly Baker, 28, was practising in a vehicle given to her by her father Mark, 51, when the accident took place on the western fringe of Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge.

The blue Daihatsu Sportrak, with four passengers on board, overturned on fire track one.


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The passengers sustained back injuries and Miss Baker, of Broadlanes, Elmstead Market, near Colchester, was pronounced dead on arrival at Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Baker has been living at the camp next to the perimeter of Woodbridge Airfield for several months and his daughter spent a great deal of time in a caravan at the site while building work took place at her home.

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He had bought the four-wheel drive vehicle a couple of weeks ago and Mr Baker said: “On Monday she was practising on track one.

“There are cobblestones there, it had been raining and I think she had been in fourth gear, missed a gear and came down to second gear and it locked up.

“The car kept on skidding, it did not hit anything but she banged her head. One of the boys in the vehicle was thrown out and the ambulance was called. I got there before the ambulance left.”

The accident has devastated the close-knit community of travellers. Miss Baker was well known among them and she was a popular figure in Ipswich and Colchester.

She used to be a club dancer and appeared at major raves in the country. “When she was a teenager she would go to raves and the DJs would call her off the dance floor and onto the podium because she was so good,” said Mr Baker.

“I was walking through Ipswich with her two weeks ago and every few yards somebody would stop and talk to her. It was the same in Colchester, it used to take an hour to walk down the main street.

“Kelly had no fear. She had nothing to hide, she would talk to anybody. She was not capable of working and we accepted that she was a special case. She did not want a 9am to 5pm 'grey' world.

“She could not understand why people got so worked up about petty things, she was open-minded and she always saw the good side in people.”

Miss Baker, born in Great Bromley, was an accomplished gymnast, had represented Colchester and had trials for England, her father said.

Her mother, Vivien Gawn, lives in Colchester, as does Kelly's younger sister Jade. The funeral will be held on May 5 at 2.45pm at Colchester Crematorium, with donations for a cat rescue organisation.

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