Tragic Samantha's family to fight on

Grieving relatives of Lowestoft girl Samantha Castledine have pledged to continue their battle for major safety improvements near her school, despite a coroner ruling the design of the road where she died did not caused the tragedy.

Grieving relatives of Lowestoft girl Samantha Castledine have pledged to continue their battle for major safety improvements near her school, despite a coroner ruling the design of the road where she died did not caused the tragedy.

Samantha's family insisted a new pedestrian crossing was still desperately needed on the busy A12 Yarmouth Road, near Gunton Primary School, in Lowestoft, and have received the backing of their MP, local councillor and thousands of people who have signed a petition demanding action.

The campaign appeared to have been dealt a blow after Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean ruled the road did not play a part in the accident in which a 17-tonnne lorry collided with six-year-old Samantha as she cycled to school.

But a spokesman for Highways Agency, which manages the road, has given campaigners a glimmer of hope after confirming a study looking at the need for a crossing would continue, with the results expected by the end of the month.

Samantha's sister, Jo Woolnough, 28, said: “We will continue to fight because we desperately don't want anybody else to go through what we have gone through. We don't want Samantha's death to have been in vain.

“Until you've got something to stop the traffic you can't rule it out happening to another child. The place is an accident waiting to happen. All we are asking for is one set of lights; it's just logical to put something there.”

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The road currently has a central island and it was here Samantha was waiting on the morning of March 26 when her bike rolled forward slightly into the path of the lorry. Dr Dean recorded a verdict of accidental death and no action will be taken against the driver.

Crossing patrol officers work at the site, but campaigners believe a pedestrian crossing controlled by lights would be the safest way to get children across the road.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: “All the while we continue expecting children to wait in a pen in the middle of the road, the scope for a tragic accident must continue to exist. Obviously the coroner is looking specifically at one accident but I'm trying to look at it generally. Our children deserve better.”

Local district councillor Malcolm Cherry added: “I am fighting to try to get something for the community that will help them cross the road safely.”

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