Friends say farewell to tragic Ben

FAMILY and friends of a promising young jockey killed on a Suffolk road have said a final goodbye to him in an emotionally-charged funeral service.

Russell Claydon

FAMILY and friends of a promising young jockey killed on a Suffolk road have said a final goodbye to him in an emotionally-charged funeral service.

Nineteen-year-old Ben Potter's coffin arrived at St Mary's Church in Pakenham yesterday in a horse-driven hearse to commemorate his links to the horse racing industry.

The stud he had been working at in Thetford closed down as a mark of respect and the former Thurston Community College pupil's favourite song, You'll Never Walk Alone, filled the air at the conclusion of the service.

Friends of the teenager, who was killed in a car crash on the A134 at Bridge Street, near Alpheton on the Saturday of the Easter weekend, wore pink to the church.

The Reverend Ian Hooper, the rector at St Mary's Church, said: “A few of the youngsters did wear pink - both boys and girls - I did not know they were going to.

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“We had about 200 people and the service went very well.

“Friends and family carried the coffin into the church which arrived on a horse-driven hearse.

“His father gave a tribute and after the service we first of all had just the close family around the grave for the committal and then his friends came around to pay their own tribute.”

Hymns sung during the service all held a special significance to Ben, who was an avid Liverpool supporter and played football for Norton Football Club. They included Abide With Me, The Lord of the Dance and a moving song from one of his favourite films, Gladiator.

“There were quite a lot of people from his stud,” said Rev Hooper. “It was a standard burial church service but they did have a montage of photos of Ben's life and there was a photo of him with the coffin and a floral tribute.”

The teenager was known to many of the village's residents after he used to deliver papers there. At the time of his death he was living in Stud accommodation with another worker in Thetford.

The EADT revealed yesterday how Suffolk County Council are now reviewing the safety of the stretch of road where Ben was involved in the collision which ultimately ended with his death in hospital. Currently the site, which sits in a dip, has an enforced 40mph limit on it but a 30mph limit is likely to be put to a panel after a police report comes back on the crash.

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