Tributes paid to teen killed in smash

FRIENDS of a 19-year-old who tragically died in a horror crash over the Easter weekend have held a candle vigil at the scene of his death.

Russell Claydon

FRIENDS of a 19-year-old who tragically died in a horror crash over the Easter weekend have held a candle vigil at the scene of his death.

Floral tributes have piled up at Bridge Street, near Alpheton, on the A143 since Pakenham teenager Ben Potter died in hospital on Sunday, following a head-on collision.

Former classmates of the popular Thurston Community College pupil have also been lighting a candle in his memory at the spot every night since the crash happened on Saturday at 8.40am.

The family of Mr Potter were too upset to comment last night, but outpourings of grief and condolences were rapidly building up on an internet group setup in his memory as well as messages and flowers left at the crash scene.

Floral tributes included one signed by “girlfriend Chantelle” and another from “Gina”, which told of the horrific aftermath of the head-on collision as medical teams battled to save the youngster.

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“Darling Ben,” it said. “I hope I gave you some comfort while stroking your hair, holding your hand and talking to you.

“I knew you knew I was there. You did not speak but I heard a mountain of things through your eye.”

She added: “Ben, I am sure we will meet again.”

On social networking website Facebook nearly 200 people quickly signed up to a group to pay their respects to the bubbly teenager who will be remembered for his “cheeky smile”.

Girlfriend Chantelle Lord, listed in the Toronto network, lead them by posting: “R.I.P My Baby Ben. I love you so much I will neva forget the first day I met you and you came and asked me for a job in Newmarket and proceeded to ask to take me for dinner.

“I knew that you were the one for me x.

“As my bf I neva knew anyone who loved wot I loved as much as I did x. I am gna follow ur horse that you believe is gonna be a very gd horse coz if u believed it was gd then I belive it too.

“People will neva understand what we shared together you made me so happy and i am gna cherish the short time we had together 4eva, and my necklass, and earings xxx that are beautifull xx and dnt you worry ur little head up there, I am gna look after mum n dad and craig and sophxx and I hope u know I was there with you holding your hand to say goodbye to youxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Miss you baby xxxxxx love you foreva xx Chantelle Your Girlfriend 26/12/09 to 12/04/09 - it was the best 5months of my life i just wish it could have been longerxxxx P.S i hope you liked your mini eggs i left with your flowersxxxx.”

Alexandra Fouracre, of the Leeds Music network, wrote: “I've known Ben since I was 10 and I haven't seen him much in recent years but when I did he was always as friendly as ever, with the same old cheeky grin.

“Such a shame a truly decent guy is gone. RIP Ben Potter - You're gonna be missed by a lot of people xxxx.”

Paul Flanagan summed up the many tributes from friends posted by writing: “You touched many in such a short time, all our lives will have a little less colour in them now you have gone... RIP buddy.”

Emergency services were called to A134, near to the Rose and Crown public house in Bridge Street, at 8.40am where a Mercedes had been in collision with a Seat Ibiza.

The driver of the Seat, Mr Potter, was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital where he later died of his injuries on Sunday.

It was revealed following the crash how days before it happened a local councillor had written to Suffolk County Council urging them to do something about the dangerous stretch of the A134 at Bridge Street, which currently has a 40mph limit and is situated in a dip.

Ben was one of four people who lost their lives on Suffolk's roads over the Easter period during a spate of collisions occurring over a five day period and police were last night renewing their appeals for witnesses.

A collision investigation is currently ongoing and any witnesses to the crash are being urged to call Sgt Bob Patterson at the Serious Collision Investigation Team on 01473 613500.