Ipswich: Ben Gummer backs calls for action to prevent Orwell Bridge suicides

The Orwell Bridge

The Orwell Bridge - Credit: citizenside.com

AN Ipswich MP has today vowed to work to introduce safety measures on the Orwell Bridge to help prevent future tragedies at the suicide blackspot.

Ben Gummer has given his backing to the cause of heartbroken mum Sharon Garner, featured in yesterday’s Star demanding action stop more families from facing the “horrendous nightmare” she has for almost four years.

Her daughter Laura, 20, fell from the bridge to her death on June 10, 2009 after battling severe depression. An inquest ruled she had intended to take her own life.

Ms Garner was compelled to speak out after a 23-year-old man died when he fell from the bridge on Sunday.

Mr Gummer told The Star: “I have spoken to the Samaritans and police about this at length.

“First and foremost suicide is a real tragedy for the family.

“It always is, no matter how a person takes their own life, it is the most appalling thing to happen. But we can’t shy away from the fact it does cause great disruption and distress to many other people.

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“The Samaritans do man a 24-hour helpline, linked to the two phones on the bridge. But I do agree with Ms Garner, more can be done.

“We talked about this issue at the recent A14 Orwell Bridge summit with Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal MP) and we will return to it.

“I am grateful for Ms Garner raising the issue and putting the pressure on for this to be revisited.

“It is going to be hard to know what to do but it is certainly something I will take up.”

Ms Garner, 50, of Norwich Road, said she has been inundated with messages of support.

“I have had so much reaction on Facebook after posting a piece Stop Orwell Bridge Suicides.

“And I am so pleased Ben Gummer is backing our calls. I really think with some support we can make a real difference. We have to do something.

“If we can stop other families facing this awful nightmare it has to be worth it.”

Ms Garner and her family have started a petition to gather support.

To sign the petition, find out mor and show your support email sharon.garner62@hotmail.com

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