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Friends mark the first anniversary of tragic Pulham crash

PUBLISHED: 22:22 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 22:22 05 April 2018

Friends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham.
Davina O'Neill with flowers for her son.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Friends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham. Davina O'Neill with flowers for her son. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

It was a day to remember three teenagers who were much loved, but taken too soon.

Friends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham. Picture: Nick Butcher

A year on from the devastating crash which claimed the lives of Kyle Warren, Dominic O’Neill and Billy Hines, friends and family made an emotional trip to Southwold Pier - the place Dominic regarded as his spiritual home - to ensure none of them are ever forgotten.

The pain and suffering of the crash on April 5 is still raw for those closest to the teenagers, who were pronounced dead at 12.17am on April 6 after the black Ford Ka they were travelling in came off the road and hit a tree in Pulham Market about 30mins earlier.

Their deaths shook the communities where they lived and grew up, leaving an overwhelming sense of grief and sadness.

But the families have been steeled by the amazing support from the teenagers’ friends, with numerous tributes organised and hundreds attending their funerals.

Friends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham. Picture: Nick Butcher

That community spirit was on show again in Southwold yesterday, when friends accompanied Dominic’s mother Davina O’Neill to the town which she and her son often visited.

“Southwold was a special place for me and Dom,” she said.

“He used to go there with his friends and we would go and spend a day there with a flask of hot chocolate. We scattered his ashes along the beach.”

A plaque has been placed on the pier bearing Dominic’s uplifting motto: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”

Friends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham.
Picture: Nick ButcherFriends and family of Dominic O'Neill gather on Southwold Pier to mark the 1st anniversary of the crash that killed three teenagers in Pulham. Picture: Nick Butcher

As they threw flowers into the sea as a mark of respect, the friends shared memories of the boys and reflected on the huge void they have left behind.

The Rev Canon Nigel Tuffnell - Rector and Rural Dean of the Seven Churches group, which includes St John the Baptist Church in Harleston - said: “Day-to-day life has settled but if anything, the pain is at least as raw as a year ago.

“In some senses it’s worse, because at that time everyone was in shock and it didn’t seem as though it could possibly have happened. Now there is no escape from it and it is even more real. You couldn’t understate how raw it still is.

“Support had continued. There are different communities for each of the boys but they have worked very well to support one another.”

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