‘Never again’ – Grieving mum who lost fiancé and family friend in tragic Orwell Bridge deaths in last four weeks calls for access restrictions
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Treena Partridge, who lost fiancé Jamie Hutton, said: “It’s far too easy to get up there.”
“It’s devastating for the people left behind for someone to go that way – I will do everything I can to make sure that does not happen again.”
Those were the emotional words last night of a loving mum and partner who has had to endure the deaths of two people in the last month as a result of falls from the Orwell Bridge.
Treena Partridge, 38, lost her fiancé Jamie Hutton on November 27 – two days after another body was found at the bridge.
But it became a double tragedy for Treena on Sunday morning when the body of a family friend was also found below the bridge.
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“It’s totally gutting, it’s devastating to think that another family has now got to go through what I am going through,” Treena said.
The distraught Treena paid tribute to her partner’s “outdoorsy” nature and love of his family, admitting that her life would be forever changed by the tragedy.
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“He was a brilliant father, he always had one of the children glued to his hip, and camping was one of our favourite places to go,” she said.
“We used to go down to the river a lot, but now it won’t be a very fun place to go.
“We have a special place down there where he carved both our names into a tree, and we have put candles down there for him now.”
The couple met in October 2000 through Treena’s sister, and were raising a family of five children.
But Jamie, 40, had suffered from various mental health illnesses since he was a teenager, including depression and mild schizophrenia.
“He didn’t like to ask for help,” Treena said. “He has been under the GP for years and been on various medication.”
“He has been up on the bridge before but someone has always managed to get there in time. I think if someone had got there in time they would have stopped him.”
But having known two of the last three people to have died from the bridge, as well as another of Jamie’s friends many years ago who died from a fall, Treena has urged the community to rally and campaign for changes to the bridge to make it safer for those who find themselves in a vulnerable position.
“She added: “It’s far too easy to get up there – there is no reason for steps to be there so I would like to see them taken down, the footpaths removed, the lay-by gone.
“I want to see as much as possible to try and stop people getting on there.
“If it is harder for people to get up there, hopefully in that moment they will think twice.”
Treena has voiced plans to start a petition and speak to local MPs over the issue, in a determined effort to prevent any further deaths to those who have already lost their lives.
“I would like to get the community involved, and see if we can get some sort of petition signed. I don’t want to stop until something is done.”
Local MPs Therese Coffey and Ben Gummer have previously voiced concerns over the issue, with Dr Coffey having campaigned for CCTV cameras while Mr Gummer has previously said the walls should be higher.
Currently Samaritans phone boxes are at either end of the bridge, with safety netting on only one side of the bridge.
Treena concluded: “I just don’t want anyone to go in this way. Too many people have lost their lives and I don’t want to leave it to chance for someone else.”
Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place to talk for anyone who is struggling to cope, whoever you are and whatever life has done to you.
Please call 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.