Stanton: Family’s gratitude for support

THE parents of two brothers killed in an horrific workplace accident have thanked everyone for the “unbelievable” amount of support they have received.

Thomas, 26, and Daniel Hazelton, 30, from the village of Stanton, were two of the four friends to die in an industrial accident while working at Claxton Engineering Services Limited in Great Yarmouth on January 21.

Peter Johnson, 42, from Stanton, and Adam Taylor, 28, from nearby Rickinghall, also lost their lives.

Speaking yesterday, a week on from their deaths, Marilyn and Bob Hazelton – parents of Thomas (better known as Tom) and Daniel – said the level of support following the tragedy had been outstanding and totally unbelievable.

Marilyn, 57, said: “Obviously to us they were fantastic, they were the best. To see how much everyone else thought of them is totally unbelievable.”

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Bob, 60, added: “To see how much hurt everyone is suffering as well as us.”

Support has poured in from the local community and further afield. The war memorial in Stanton has been covered in flowers, cards and even an Ipswich Town FC shirt – the Hazeltons are big fans of the club – and the Cock Inn pub has also been a place people have remembered the four friends.

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Mrs Hazelton said the support had definitely helped with their grief. “I never thought it would be a help, but it really is. Just to know how much everyone thought of them.”

Marilyn and Bob, who are divorced, said it might sound like a clich�, but they were just taking things one step at a time.

Mr Hazelton said: “You don’t expect anyone to go to work and not come home.”

She added: “And for their brother [Matthew] to have to phone everyone and tell them – I don’t know how he did it.”

Matthew, who part-owns Hazegood Construction who the four men were working for, had been working at a site when he got the call about the accident, which is being investigated. Bob said: “This is something that happens to other people. It doesn’t come to your own doorstep and I’m afraid this one has.”

Mrs Hazelton said: “To lose one son is bad enough, but to lose two. We just cannot believe it all happened.”

She added they were “devoted” to their families. Tom has left behind partner Charlotte Oliver and five-month-old son Alfie and Daniel has left behind partner Sam Ellis and son Freddie, who celebrates his third birthday next week. Mrs Hazelton said: “They just were larger than life. They were pranksters. They liked to drink, same as anyone else.”

For Daniel, who had been living in Rickinghall, football was a great passion. His teams had included Colchester u-13s – where his claim to fame was being nutmegged by future England star Joe Cole – and Bury Town u-18s. He had played a few seasons with Walsham-le-Willows, but most recently had been at Stanton.

His parents described him as being an “exceptional footballer”. At Ipswich Town’s Carling Cup game against Arsenal this week they said Matthew was moved when 60,000 people applauded the names of the four victims.

Tom had enjoyed banger racing in his teens. From the age of 10 he started sea fishing, which led to carp fishing. Mrs Hazelton said his personal best was a 31lb carp. As he had no camera his family drove to Snetterton in the early hours to capture the moment.

The parents said Tom and Daniel, who attended Thurston Community College, had had nearly everything they wanted in life. Mrs Hazelton said: “It’s devastating they are left behind, but I’m so glad they had that time with their respective partners and had their little boys. At least they experienced all of that.”

She said it was “wonderful” that the Four Friends Memorial Fund would achieve something in their memory.

They added their thoughts were with the families of Peter (known as PJ) and Adam. Mrs Hazelton said Tom and Daniel used to say lovely things about them. Adam’s brother Jason said he would be missed by all those who knew and loved him.

Adam had also been a keen footballer, playing with Daniel at Stanton FC, and had connections with Rickinghall FC and Walsham-le-Willows FC.

There are no plans as yet regarding funerals.

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