Stars of Suffolk Awards 2014: Town of Hadleigh receives Special Recognition award for supporting family of Rosa Simon

Paul Simon explains how important the community of Hadleigh was after the death of his daughter Rosa

Paul Simon explains how important the community of Hadleigh was after the death of his daughter Rosa in the town. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

One of the two recipients of the Special Recognition award at the Stars of Suffolk Awards was the town of Hadleigh for showing compassion and support following the death of three-year-old Rosa Simon, who died in a collision involving a van just outside her home in Canterbury Gardens in June.

rosa simon

rosa simon - Credit: Archant

See our photo gallery of the ceremony here.

Rosa had been playing on her scooter moments before the collision.

The community came together to offer meals, support and kindness to help the Simon family, and allowed them to grieve.

In an emotional speech at the ceremony at Suffolk New College on Thursday night, Mr Simon said: “Suffolk’s market towns are big enough to give both a breadth and depth of support in times of tragedy, but they are also small enough to respond as one to such situations, to reflect a shared humanity and a common purpose.

“When our daughter Rosa died in June, the community of Hadleigh’s response was total and loving – and remains so to this day.

“Our house became a river of people offering love, flowers, food and practical support.

“Her funeral, which could have merely been traumatic, was made more uplifting by how the community expressed its solidarity.

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“People dressed in Rosa’s favourite colours of pink and purple lined the streets on the way to her thanksgiving service.

“The church was packed and emotional. The cortege which left the church on the way to the cemetery was followed up the high street by mourners on foot.

“As the procession edged forward, shoppers stopped and bowed, shopkeepers came out, car drivers respectfully paused, many turning off their engines.

“Quite simply, we believe that Hadleigh is the best little town in the world.”

Meanwhile, the Rosa Simon Music Fund has been established by her family to “continue her love of music and dancing”. To donate, visit www.rosasimonmusicfund.co.uk.