Memorial garden to four friends officially opened at school
PUBLISHED: 14:49 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 21 January 2019
It was eight years to the day that four men from two tight knit west Suffolk communities died when they were crushed to death in an industrial accident.
And yesterday, Monday, January 21, marked the opening of a memorial garden to them at Stanton Primary School.
The whole school of 217 young pupils along with staff gathered on the playing field for the occasion which included relatives of the men.
Daniel Hazelton, 30, and his brother Thomas, 26, and Peter Johnson, (fondly remembered as PJ) 42, all from Stanton, were killed along with Adam Taylor, 28, of Rickinghall, when a large steel cage they were working in became unstable and collapsed on them when they were on site at Claxton Engineering Services Limited, in Great Yarmouth.
Their deaths sent shock waves throughout the area and led to protracted court hearings following prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive which culminated in sentencing at the Old Bailey.
Daniel and Tom each left behind a young child and PJ’s daughter was left to grow up without her father.
It was felt a lasting tribute was appropriate to remember the popular friends so, in liaison with their families, the East Anglian Daily Times and Mercury newspapers launched the Four Friends Memorial Fund which managed to raise more than £35,000, which has paid for tributes to Daniel, Tom, Adam and PJ in Stanton and Rickinghall.
The garden, which is estimated to cost £3,000 and features four flower and vegetable beds, a cherry tree, little wooden sheep, two bug houses, seating, a sign and fencing, was officially opened by eight-year-old Alfie Hazelton, son of Thomas, and Bailey Hazelton, six, the nephew of Thomas and Daniel. There are also four wooden seats all with the men’s initials inscribed on them on another part of the playing field.
PJ’s sister Judi Freeman, who works in the office at the school, also attended the event.
She said: “It’s nice that the children get something out of it as three of the men were pupils at the school. It’s a lasting memorial to them as the children will be able to grow items in the garden as well.”
Sue Chapman, the head teacher, said: “It was a huge impact on the whole community and this is a way of remembering the four men and it’s supporting those in the school who were effected by the accident in some way.
“PJ even used to do disco’s in the school and it’s a good memorial to have in the school for them.”
Eight of the classes will each share half of the beds to learn and grow items as part of their Forest School projects.