Pupils leave flowers and messages in memory of “inspirational” Bungay teacher
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Flowers have been laid at the gates of Bungay Primary School in memory of 'inspirational' teacher Anthony Benson-Smith.
The father of five was killed in a car crash in Mettingham last Friday morning, which also left a man in his 50s with serious injuries.
Family, friends and pupils have paid tribute to the 45-year-old deputy headteacher, with flowers and messages left outside the school.
One pupil said: 'Mr Smith you were the best. You always made me believe I could do something even when I thought I couldn't. I will miss you.'
A statement issued by his family said: 'Anthony was a very loving and supportive husband to Emma, he was also a devoted father to his five children - Ania, 19, India, 17, Jude, nine, Ruby, seven, and Eden, five.
'He was a thoughtful and caring son to his parents Peter and Valerie.
'Anthony was a highly-respected, dedicated and inspirational teacher who always put the welfare and education of his students first.
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'As deputy headteacher of Bungay Primary School, he demonstrated his strengths in leadership, compassion and support for his team.
'Emma is thankful for the 12 years they shared together and proud of what he achieved. It was a privilege to be his wife and he will live forever in our hearts.
'Our thoughts and prayers are also with the other driver and his family at this time.'
Mr Benson-Smith, of Lowestoft, died at the scene of the crash after the green Ford Fiesta he was driving was in collision with a yellow Peugeot 107. It crash happened just after 7am on the B1062 Beccles Road between Low Road and Tallents Loke.
Jamie Tye, whose children attend Bungay Primary School, said: 'He was an amazing man who was brimming with life and love for education and he made sure that all children knew and felt their full potential. He will be sorely missed by both parent pupil and colleague alike.'
And family friends Chris, Janet, Ben and Hunter Renicar said: 'There are no words to express the sadness I know a whole community is feeling at the loss of this man. He made people smile.'
Iain Owens, headteacher at Bungay Primary also paid tribute and said he was 'loved, admired and highly regarded.'
Four days later Suffolk suffered its second road fatality of 2016 after 55-year-old pedestrian David Hunt died following a collision in Bury St Edmunds on Monday.
The incidents come after police figures revealed the death toll on Suffolk's roads last year was the worst for six years, when 35 people died in 30 collisions.
Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: 'I am saddened to see two more lives lost on our roads already this year. Each death is a personal tragedy for the relatives and friends of the deceased. My thoughts and prayers, as always, are with the bereaved.
'I am totally committed to making Suffolk's roads safer and this is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan. Suffolk is one of only two constabularies that have invested in roads policing recently.
'Suffolk's policing budget is tight but a new motorcycle unit of four bikes and a roads policing car will be money well spent because it will provide additional visibility on the county's roads and support awareness campaigns for vulnerable road users such as younger and older drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.'
Police are still appealing for anyone who saw the Mettingham crash to come forward. Any witnesses are asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Team on 101 quoting reference CAD 36 of January 8.