Centre avoids death scene

An outdoor adventure centre is avoiding the picturesque Norfolk wood where an 11-year-boy was killed when a massive tree limb fell on him.Daniel Mullinger died on Tuesday when the beach tree bough, weighing up to four tons, fell on him and nine school friends at the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall.

An outdoor adventure centre is avoiding the picturesque Norfolk wood where an 11-year-boy was killed when a massive tree limb fell on him.

Daniel Mullinger died on Tuesday when the beach tree bough, weighing up to four tons, fell on him and nine school friends at the National Trust's Felbrigg Hall.

Today the hall and grounds, near Cromer, are open to the public for first time since the accident.

The year six pupil from Heathlands Primary School in Essex was on a map reading exercise in the estate's Great Wood when the bough broke off and hit him. Another 11-year-boy is in London's Great Ormond Street Hospital with serious pelvic injuries.

Yesterday, the nearby Aylmerton Field Study Centre, which ran the outdoor course, reopened its doors again to school parties but said it would not take the newly-arrived group of Lincolnshire pupils into the Great Woods during their stay.

Despite the precautionary move the family-run centre says it has total faith in the National Trust's health and safety tree inspection regime.

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Since the centre opened 19 years ago more than 50,000 children staying there have visited Felbrigg Hall, with parties going to the woods about twice a week.

Sara Holroyd, from the centre, said: “We have a very strong relationship with the National Trust and they always inform us straight away if there any potential hazards at Felbrigg Hall. For two years we avoided going near one tree on the estate because we were told it was dangerous.”

Daniel, who was from Stanway, near Colchester, had spent two days at the centre before he went into the woods with 28 other children. His party of 10 pupils was in a supervised group when the accident happened at about 3pm.

Instructors from the centre helped take charge of the accident scene and prevented the other school groups from getting close to the area. Once the scale of the incident emerged other instructors ran two miles from the centre to the woods to help.

Two of the instructors are still on compassionate leave as they try to deal with the horrific scenes they witnessed at Felbrigg Hall.

Mrs Holroyd said: “We have all had a desperately sad and devastating week. I have to say all our staff here have been amazingly resilient. We have offered them all counselling.

“We can not even begin to imagine the grief that Daniel's parents must be feeling at this time.”

The police and Health and Safety Executive are still investigating the accident. The National Trust has not yet decided if the beach tree should be chopped down but the surrounding area has been cordoned off from the public.

On Thursday, a Norwich inquest heard Daniel died from head injuries after bearing the full brunt of the bough. The two other pupils hurt in the incident were released from hospital on Thursday.

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