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Village in shock after worker's death

PUBLISHED: 05:33 07 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

By John Howard

A VILLAGE is trying to come to terms today with the death of one of its residents in an accident at work.

British Sugar factory dispatch worker Lorraine Waspe died after she was involved in a collision with a mechanical loading shovel in a warehouse at the company's factory in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday.

By John Howard

A VILLAGE is trying to come to terms today with the death of one of its residents in an accident at work.

British Sugar factory dispatch worker Lorraine Waspe died after she was involved in a collision with a mechanical loading shovel in a warehouse at the company's factory in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday.

Mrs Waspe, 40, who lived in Valley Lane, Great Finborough, was an only child and came from a farming family well-known in the area. She married her sweetheart Colin last year at a wedding ceremony in Gretna Green.

The Rev Nigel Hartley, parish priest for Great Finborough, said: “What has happened is a tragedy for the family and the community. The Waspe family are extremely well-known in the area.

“Lorraine was a very bubbly, sparky character, very well-liked and was getting into village affairs. I was involved in the funeral of her mother, Joyce, during 2001 and her father John still lives in the village.

“For Lorraine to die in such a tragic way at such a young age, particularly given she had only recently married Colin, is a tragedy.”

Sue Marks, who runs the village post office and stores with her husband Paul, recalled a woman who was full of fun.

“She was a customer at the shop, she was a lovely woman, always full of fun, lively, someone who enjoyed life,” she said.

“She was a super, super girl. What can you say? She has lived in the village for years, everybody knew them. This is such a terrible shame.

“The family are all absolutely devastated, in a state of shock. To think you could go to work as normal and not come back. I can't imagine what they feel like, it's terrible.”

Lesley Cass, one of Mrs Waspe's neighbours, added: “She was a bubbly, friendly person, passionate about cats, loved the birds and was keen to encourage wildlife.

“She was enthusiastic about the environment and environmental issues. She and her husband were creating their own garden to her design and she was involved in village activities such as the gardening club.

“I am absolutely stunned by her death. The couple were only married last year in Gretna Green after being together for a long while. Her husband will be absolutely devastated.”

A spokeswoman for the Transport and General Workers' Union, which has members at the factory, said it deeply saddened to hear of Mrs Waspe's death and sent their condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

Mrs Waspe worked for British Sugar as a seasonal worker and her colleagues are being offered counselling.

Suffolk police are not treating her death as suspicious, but the Health and Safety executive has launched an investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said yesterday: “Investigations started straight away and inspectors are at the company today. “Generally we try to ascertain what happened and why, take statements from people, look in to the training histories.

“We are looking to see if there have been any breaches of health and safety legislation to keep people safe in the workplace.”

John Smith, a spokesman for British Sugar, said it was working closely with the Health and Safety Executive to discover exactly what happened.

An inquest into Mrs Waspe's death will be held at a later date.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk


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