King’s Lynn Mart falls silent in tribute to three-year-old Rio, who died after being hit by a car

Showmen last night led tributes to a three-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car near King's Lynn Mart. It came after officials and police held an emergency meeting and family members visited the scene of the tragedy.

Rides fell silent for five minutes in memory of the youngster as flowers and balloons marked the spot on King Street where the accident happened on Wednesday evening.

'God Bless You, our hearts are with you,' one said. 'From all the staff at the fairground.'

The boy has been widely named on social networks as Rio, but his identity has not been released by police.

He received severe head injuries after he was in collision with a blue Audi A4 at 5.30pm. He was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The accident happened yards from the Tuesday Market Place where Lynn Mart opened on Valentine's Day.

Family members are understood to have visited the scene last night, as fairground rides observed a five minute silence.

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Donald Gray, chief steward at the Mart, said: 'Our condolences go out to the family. Both my wife and I have some feeling of what the family are going through as my wife's four-year-old nephew drowned last year.'

Mr Gray said it was not clear whether the boy and his family had been to the Mart or were on their way to the fair.

By last night more than 2,400 had signed a petition to close King Street while the Mart is in progress.

Officials from West Norfolk council, Norfolk County Council, the Mart and police met yesterday to discuss the accident.

Last night borough and county councillor Brian Long, who was among those attending, said: 'There was a meeting of the group that normally meets before the Mart commences. They met as a matter or urgency to discuss what's happened.

'The police advice was that their investigation is ongoing. There may well be lessons learned when their inquiries are concluded.'

Earlier West Norfolk council, which oversees safety at the fair, said: 'The Mart has been coming to town for hundreds of years and has an excellent safety record.

'Every year an organising committee, consisting of the police, county highways, Norfolk County Council, representatives from the Showmen's Guild and the borough council, review the current arrangements.

'Before the mart opens an inspection is carried out to ensure all agreed measures have been taken.

'We await the outcome of the police investigation into this tragic incident to see if lessons can be learned for the operation of the Mart.

'We are devastated and our hearts go out to the family of this young boy at this time.'

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, which is responsible for highways and road closures, said: 'This is an awful tragedy but we really need to find out much more about the causes of the accident before deciding whether there is any action that can be taken. That investigation is being carried out by the police.

'Whenever someone is killed or seriously injured on the roads we work closely with the police to see whether anything can be done to reduce the risk of it happening again. When there is a fatality the inquest findings are also very important.

'On the question of road closures, this is not always straightforward because people have needs and rights of access to businesses, homes and car parks and there is not always an alternative.'

One eyewitness to the incident, who stayed at the nearby Globe Hotel on Wednesday night, said: 'I was walking to the hotel when I saw the boy walk into the road. There was nothing I could do. It is absolutely heartbreaking.'

A manager at the Globe said a receptionist was still 'very shaken' after seeing the aftermath of the incident.

Arnas Rakstelis, manager at Prezzo, said his staff were made aware of the incident when police asked for a side door close to the scene to be shut.

'We were very busy here at the time but we made sure people couldn't see it,' he said.

'We then had a lady come in who was very stressed and we gave her water and helped her as much as we could. Someone told me there was a toy in the road and the boy went after it.'

Tracey Masterson, who works at the Property and Mortgage Bureau close to the crash site, on King Street, said: 'The police taped up the road and the girls here said they saw a police officer speaking to the driver who they said was young and smartly dressed.

'I don't think the Mart should be held on the Tuesday Market Place next year after what has happened.'

A police spokesman said a family liaison officer was supporting the family and appealed for witnesses to the incident.

Lynn Mart is currently under way on the Tuesday Market Place. While access to some streets around the square is restricted while the fair is in progress, King Street has been open to two-way traffic as usual.

Like much of Lynn town centre, the busy street has a 20mph speed limit.

By last night more than 2,400 had signed a petition to close King Street while the Mart is in progress.

Among them was King's Lynn resident Shane Hyam who said: 'I have a young son and would like to know he is safe walking around the Mart and not having to worry about motorists driving through such a busy time.'

Fellow Lynn resident Kayleigh McKinnom said: 'I saw the aftermath and felt disturbed at the contrast between the bright lights of the rides and the sombre lights of the police cars.'

Nanette Parsons, also from King's Lynn, said: 'Why does it take a tragedy to realise the roads should be closed around the Mart on children's day if not all the time it is here.'

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