Tributes paid to Essex park manager

TRIBUTES were paid last night to a "lovely" country park manager who died after he was crushed by a falling tree in a popular Essex beauty spot.Twenty-eight-year-old Hadrian Robinson, of Rayne, near Braintree, who was felling the tree when it struck him on the head, died while carrying out what he described as "the best job in the world".

TRIBUTES were paid last night to a "lovely" country park manager who died after he was crushed by a falling tree in a popular Essex beauty spot.

Twenty-eight-year-old Hadrian Robinson, of Rayne, near Braintree, who was felling the tree when it struck him on the head, died while carrying out what he described as "the best job in the world".

The Health and Safety Executive has confirmed it has launched an inquiry into the tragedy and Essex County Council is also carrying out its own investigation.

Mr Robinson was an experienced senior ranger/site manager for the council-run Flitch Way Country Park, which passes along the former Bishop's Stortford to Braintree railway line.

On Thursday, he was helping colleagues in nearby Chalkney Woods at Earls Colne to fell a leaning tree when the accident happened.

Investigations are at early stage but it appears the sawed tree fell in the wrong direction and struck Mr Robinson. He received serious head injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Essex county councillor Tracey Chapman, cabinet member for the environment, knew Mr Robinson through her special responsibilities for country parks, lead the tributes to him.

She said: "I am deeply saddened by the death of Hadrian whom I knew personally. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time. Staff and friends of Hadrian are being offered counselling and support following this tragic accident.

"Hadrian was lovely, very young and very keen and he always used to say he was doing the best job in the world."

She said she understood he had been studying for an MSc in country parks management.

"He really loved what he was doing and was very ambitious to get on in the parks service," she added.

"He was very polite and helpful and had a great rapport with the public and I think everybody who came into contact with him thought he was wonderful, which was why he made such an immediate impression on me."

His manager Graham Tombs, Essex County Council's head of waste, recycling and environment, said Mr Robinson had worked for the council for about a year.

He explained that on Thursday Mr Robinson, who was trained to fell trees from the ground, had gone to help colleagues in the other park to fell a tree, which was not particularly large but was considerably overhanging a neighbouring property.

"It was not a terribly large tree but it was in an awkward position next to a house," explained Mr Tombs. "He was with colleagues and after he used the chainsaw it appears the tree did not come down as expected and it struck him.

"He was a very likeable individual and no-one had a bad word to say about him. Everyone is deeply shocked, especially his colleagues who were with him at the time. He was universally liked by everybody, including councillors and the people here, and we are all devastated. This is a huge tragic loss."

Mr Robinson was not married but had a girlfriend. His family, who hail from the Harlow area, were last night too distraught to comment on the tragedy.

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