Petition to have memorial bench installed in Northampton for crash victims turned down by council

A petition calling for Northampton Borough Council to provide a memorial bench for four tragic road crash victims after a ranger removed a makeshift shrine has been refused - because the council said it had already apologised.

Thursday, 18th August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:36 pm
Brogan Warren, Sam Kay, Nicoletta Tocco and Krop Jones lost their lives in a tragic road accident in May.

Sam Kay, Brogan Warren, Nicoletta Tocco and Krop Jones, lost their lives in a head-on collision near the Wiltshire / Oxfordshire border in May.

The group had been returning from a vegan food festival in Bristol when the car they were in collided head-on with another vehicle along the A420.

Shortly after their deaths, friends and family held a vigil by Delapre Lake and left a makeshift shrine of flowers, trinkets and pictures to honour the popular four.

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But less than two days later a borough council ranger was called to the picturesque spot to remove the shrine after a complaint from a member of the public.

The decision prompted anger among their family and friends and a petition was launched to make the council put a permanent memorial bench in place of the temporary one removed.

A total of 1,139 signed the petition, but it has been turned down because the authority says it has already “expressed its regret” at the incident.

Petition organiser, Georgia Mae, 20, from Abington, said: “My reaction and the reaction from friends and family is pure shock and disbelief.

“We had 1,139 signatures, that’s the most signatures an NBC petition has had since 2003 and considering the circumstances it is not a lot to ask.

“It seems as if the council believe the entire reason for the bench is because they disturbed the shrine which, although is part of it, is not why we want this.

“We want this because it’s the very least our four angels deserve and the sudden loss of these souls affected the majority of Northampton.”

Miss Mae, who a close friend of Brogan Warren, said family and friends chose the spot at Delapre Lake, because it was a favourite spot of the tragic victims.

Cabinet member for environment, Councillor Alan Bottwood (Con, Upton) said he was willing to work with Miss Mae to find an alternate spot in a “safe and appropriate location” in an email response to her petition.

But he also said he did not think it was appropriate for the council to provide a bench, as it had “immediately expressed regret at any distress it may have caused” back in May.

Councillor Bottwood,told the Chron: “I have been corresponding with a friend of the deceased who has petitioned for a memorial bench to commemorate the 4 friends she tragically lost in a car accident earlier this year.

“It’s a thoughtful and commendable gesture and as I said in my response to the friend, the council is open to discussing how and where a memorial bench could be put in place to pay tribute to those that lost that their lives.

“In order for that conversation to take place, a family member or representative has been invited to contact me to discuss.”