Community mourns little Samantha

A community is in mourning following the death of a six-year-old girl in collision with a 17-tonne lorry as she made her way to school. The girl, who was riding her bike to Gunton Primary School, in Lowestoft, has been named as Samantha Castledine.

A community is in mourning following the death of a six-year-old girl in collision with a 17-tonne lorry as she made her way to school.

The girl, who was riding her bike to Gunton Primary School, in Lowestoft, has been named as Samantha Castledine, of Spashett Road in the town.

As news spread of her death, tearful school friends and their parents arrived at the scene to pay their respects by laying flowers, cards and cuddly toys.

But many also called for safety improvements to the busy A12 Yarmouth Road at the junction of Hollingsworth Road.

Samantha's family were too upset to talk, but in a statement, Gunton Primary headteacher Sue Barrett said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family at this very sad time. As headteacher, my priority now is to support our children.

“We have educational psychologists at the school to help us do this and they will stay with us for as long as we need them.”

Most Read

Mrs Barrett faced the difficult task of breaking the news of Samantha's death to pupils at the school, in Gainsborough Drive, following the crash at about 8.40am.

Suffolk police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said: “Samantha was on her bike being taken to school by a family member, who was also on a bike, when she was in collision with a 17-tonne Volvo lorry while she was waiting to cross the road.

“She was taken to the James Paget Hospital with multiple injuries, but despite efforts to resuscitate her, she died a short time later. The road was closed until just after 1pm. The lorry driver and his adult son were also taken to hospital for treatment for shock.”

“Samantha and her relative were waiting on their bikes at the central reservation on Yarmouth Road shortly before the collision.

Parents said that while the busy road was covered by a lollipop man, extra safety measures were needed to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

Amanda Swan, mother of eight-year-old Andrew and Caitlin, five, said: “I saw the little girl laying there and it was horrific. The other children are really sad and have been sobbing their eyes out.

“There are always so many children trying to cross the road and it's so tragic that it has to take something like this to get action.”

Lisa Rutland, who has a seven-year-old son, added: “It's horrendous trying to cross this road and scary when you've got little ones with you. The obvious answer is to have a pedestrian crossing put there.”

Fellow mother Debbie Johnson added: “These are our babies who are crossing here. I've said that a tragedy would need to happen before something is done about it. It's awful and absolutely tragic; I am really angry.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said officers would work closely with the Highways Agency and police to see if safety improvements are needed.

She added: “The stretch of road is maintained by the Highways Agency and there have been road safety improvements made to the area as a result of a safety assessment by the county council. These measures include additional safety barriers and we also have a school crossing patrol in place. This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family at this time.”