Tragic parents in road safety plea

The grieving family of a six-year-old girl crash victim have made an emotional appeal for safety improvements to be made to the busy road where she died.

The grieving family of a six-year-old girl crash victim have made an emotional appeal for safety improvements to be made to the busy road where she died.

Relatives of Samantha Castledine gathered to pay tribute to the popular Lowestoft schoolgirl, but also spoke of their wish for highways chiefs to take urgent steps to prevent other families suffering the same heartache.

Samantha died on Monday morning after she was in collision with a 17-tonne lorry on the main A12 Yarmouth Road at the junction with Hollingsworth Road.

She was on her way to Gunton Primary School, in Gainsborough Drive, and was waiting with her bike at a central reservation seconds before the crash at 8.40am. She was being accompanied by an adult cousin.

Within hours, worried parents were speaking of their fears about the safety of children crossing the road and today Samantha's family, including her older brothers and sisters, joined the growing chorus of concern.

Samantha's sister Jo Woolnough said: “The amount of children that cross that road is staggering. Surely there must be a pelican crossing or traffic lights put up there - something needs to be done.”

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Other sister Lyndsey Stringer added: “It does not seem fair that traffic lights can be installed outside the Denes High School - around a mile away. It's just common sense to have something put outside a primary school as well.”

Samantha's grieving parents, Kevin and Jackie Castledine, paid tribute to their little girl who “loved everyone and everything”.

“This is a tribute to our wonderful daughter Samantha: our little girl, who loved everyone and everything. She was always smiling,” Mrs Castledine said.

Described as full of life, Samantha - or Mantha as she was known to her two brothers and two sisters - was known for her love of sport, particularly football, swimming and skipping.

Plans are also in place to put up a permanent memorial bench to Samantha at Gunton Primary, while she will also be missed by friends at The Purple Academy of Dance and Performing Arts where she took to the stage in her first show in February.

Mrs Woolnough added: “She is a little star in all of our eyes. She was just the most happy-go-lucky person you would meet in your life; she never had a bad word to say about anything.”

A spokesman for the Highways Agency, which is responsible for the stretch of the road where the accident happened, said officers would cooperate fully with the police coroner to investigate if any improvements were needed.

t Samantha's funeral will take place at 1pm on April 11 at St Margaret's Church, off Hollingsworth Road, followed by a cremation service at Gorleston.