Mother and sisters pay tribute to man killed on A14

THE MOTHER and sisters of a popular young man who was killed on the A14 have described him as talented, hard-working and generous.

James Clarke from Drinkstone died after he was struck by a Peugeot 206 as he crossed the eastbound carriageway of the A14 at Haughley on foot at about 12.10am on Sunday morning.

Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times yesterday his sisters Dr Julia Hill and Bella Clarke described what had happened as a “tragic accident,” and said their brother had been on his way home from a wedding at the time.

The 25-year-old was the son of the late farmer John Clarke, of Rookery Farm, Drinkstone, who had been well-known in the area in connection to the “‘Woolpit whiff’ saga.

Speaking from the family home in the village James’ mother Ethne said how James’ untimely death had left his family and close friends “devastated”.


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In a joint tribute, his mother and five sisters said: “The death of James Clarke has come as a profound shock to those who knew, loved and revered him.

“This talented and sensitive young man whose loyalties and devotion to his recently deceased father gave rise to huge respect from both family and friends.

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“James was hard-working, generous, caring and funny.

“His skills as an engineer showed him to be both innovative and clever and he drew the admiration of BMW whose engineering he admired.”

James, who was the youngest of six children and the only boy, owned and ran the family farming business, taking over the reins before his father died.

His mother said his main hobby had been cars, which she described as a “life-long passion”.

Most recently, James, who his family said lived life to the full, was interested in BMW cars, with one of the cars he worked on taking the prime front cover spot of a BMW magazine.

He enjoyed travelling to the Santa Pod race track, and his family said he had been trying to beat his own personal record.

His sister Bella said: “He liked being at home around what he knew - his cars and his friends.”

Mandy Elphick, who owns Viv’s Patisserie in Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, had been a neighbour of James’ in Tostock Road until recently.

She described him as “easy-going” and “always just generally happy”.

“He always had lots of friends working with him on his cars.”

James was the uncle of six children and also leaves sisters Jasmine Clarke, Beverley Cantwell and Dodo Jerman.

James’ family said flowers had been laid at the scene of the accident.

Police said he had been one of two passengers in a dark coloured BMW that had stopped on the westbound carriageway.

Officers are investigating what happened and ask anyone who may have been travelling along this stretch of the A14 at the time to come forward if they saw anything that may help enquiries.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who saw the dark coloured BMW, or any of its occupants, in the area shortly before the collision or anyone who saw the incident itself.

Call Pc Andrew Fossey at the Serious Collision Investigation Team at Police Headquarters on 01473 613500.

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