Fiancee's tribute to 'Dependable George'

THE fiancée of a 28-year-old farmworker killed while trying to rescue two colleagues from a slurry tank has paid tribute to her "happy and fun-loving" partner.

THE fiancée of a 28-year-old farmworker killed while trying to rescue two colleagues from a slurry tank has paid tribute to her "happy and fun-loving" partner.

Liz Allen, who lived with George Barnes in Brandon, said she did not know how she would cope without her partner of seven years.

Mr Barnes died on Monday when he was overcome by fumes in a 12ft slurry tank in Great Hockham, near Thetford, alongside two colleagues.

It is believed Timothy Bartram, 46, from Thetford, tumbled into the vat after breathing in poisonous gases. Mr Barnes, alongside 54-year-old Graham Morris, who also lived in Thetford, bravely tried to rescue their friend but were also overcome.

Speaking last night, Ms Allen said her fiancée had been close to his family, and had a great love for his dogs, Bruno and Rocky, as well as Norwich City Football Club.

"He would do anything for anyone," said Ms Allen, who got engaged to Mr Barnes on Christmas Day 2002.

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"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I don't know how I am going to cope without him because he has always been there for me. Dependable George."

The trio all worked for Thetford-based company Enviro-Waste, and a joint inquiry into the circumstances surrounding their deaths has been launched by Norfolk Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

Meanwhile, an inquest was opened yesterday into the deaths of the three men. Norwich coroner William Armstrong said the exact circumstances surrounding the accident were not yet fully known.

But he said: "I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of this tragedy."

Mr Bartram leaves an ex-wife and two sons, aged 17 and 15, while Mr Morris leaves a wife, two sons, aged 31 and 25, and a 29-year-old daughter.

A fourth man, Daniel Willimot, 28, of Northwold, also jumped into the tank, but managed to escape and was treated at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

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