Suffolk steel tragedy: Players honour tragic four

THE friends and families of four men killed in a tragic work accident took a moment to celebrate their lives at a village football match on Saturday.

Adam Taylor, 28, from Rickinghall, Peter Johnson, 41, and brothers Thomas, 26, and Daniel Hazelton, 30, all from Stanton, were killed while working at Claxton Engineering Services Limited in Great Yarmouth on January 21.

Both Mr Taylor and Daniel Hazelton were players in Stanton FC’s first team and were last weekend meant to be playing a cup tie against Grundisburgh.

That game was postponed out of respect for the friends but Saturday’s game between Stanton and Haughley United proved a timely opportunity for team mates, relatives and friends to gather together and pay tribute.

The match, at Haughley, was preceded by a minute of silence and then a second minute of clapping before a rousing round of applause erupted as the game kicked off.

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In his programme notes, Haughley United chairman Chris Faiers reflected on the “close links” between the two clubs.

He said: “It was hard to do a programme this week as the comings and goings of a football club pale into insignificance after the tragic events of last week. Our hearts go out to the families of those lost in tragic circumstances.

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“There has always been close links between the clubs as several players have played for both clubs and Stanton have often been our closest neighbour to the west.

“I hope today’s game goes some way to help the healing process and do justice to their memory.”

Speaking before the kick-off, Stanton chairman Peter Knights said it had been a very difficult week for all those connected with the club.

He said: “We would like to win, but the result is immaterial, really. They just wanted to play, mainly because they want to get back into it.

“The players are always together. If they have nights out, they’re together.

“The community has been brilliant and we have to thank Haughley and all the other clubs who have helped and held silences before games this weekend.”

Stanton won the match 2-0 and Mr Knights said that once people had spent some time taking in the tragic events of the past week, plans would be made to remember the two players and their friends, perhaps with a special match in the summer.

Last week the EADT launched the Four Friends Memorial Fund in honour of Mr Johnson, Mr Taylor and the Hazelton brothers.

The Four Friends Memorial Fund is for a permanent memorial in the community, with the form of the memorial being decided by the families at an appropriate time.

If you would like to support the fund to create a lasting memorial to the four friends, please send cheques payable to Archant Regional Ltd (write Four Friends Memorial Fund on reverse of cheque), to Four Friends Memorial Fund, c/o The Editor, EADT, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN.

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