Village hit by double tragedy

A village is in mourning after the death of the second young man in as many days. In tributes to Anthony Hill, 28, he was described as “part of the heartbeat” of the village of Denton, near Harleston.

A village is in mourning after the death of the second young man in as many days.

In tributes to Anthony Hill, 28, he was described as “part of the heartbeat” of the village of Denton, near Harleston.

His death came a day after that of Josh Lawrence, 22, also from Denton, in a road accident.

Mr Hill was well known in Denton through the family business Classic Carriages, and was often seen driving a pair of horses around the village.

He was involved in almost every aspect of community life, from the compost club to the cider club, and would help out with everything from WI barbecues to church holiday camps.

His parents recalled a “reliable, steadfast and trustworthy” young man, who loved the outdoors.

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His mother Bridget, 61, said: “He was wonderful. He was a marvellous person. There will be a hole in the village.”

Father Peter, 65, a consultant in the construction industry, said: “He was held in high esteem by everyone. He will be greatly missed by the community, as well as by us.”

Mr Hill was born in Buckinghamshire but moved to Norfolk aged eight and attended Alburgh with Denton Primary and Langley School.

He coped with the challenges of a speech impediment, which he largely overcame, and a condition similar to dyslexia to gain GCSEs and an art A level, then took a diploma in photography and video at Suffolk College and briefly worked as an EDP photographer.

A talented horseman, he was told by his teacher, former royal coachman Stephen Matthews, that he was good enough for a job at Buckingham Palace.

But he preferred to stay in Denton and after his sister Fiona's marriage became the mainstay of the family business, driving pairs and teams of four horses at weddings and funerals. He also helped out on local farms from the age of 12.

His father said: “He just loved the open air life. The nine horses in his charge were like his children. It was dealing with them and driving them that he really loved. He was extremely happy with his lot.”

Mr Hill was found dead in the cab of his lorry on Friday morning at 7.45am. The cause of his death is yet to be confirmed, but is believed to be natural causes.

He had been in good health since a mysterious blackout, after which he was advised to stop driving for a year. He returned to the wheel just a few days before his death.

Recalling the morning of his death, his mother said: “Peter had just waved him off and he shouted to me 'Goodbye, mum.'

“He got to the end of the cottages and the police reckoned that he knew something was happening because he slowed the lorry right down. He got past the cottages and keeled over and the lorry trickled into the ditch. A friend said that was just typical of Anthony, he made sure he didn't hurt anyone.”

One letter of sympathy from a friend said: “Reminders of Anthony are everywhere because he was, and always will be, a part of the heartbeat of this village.”

Former district councillor Richard Carden, who lives in the village, said: “Two lose two young people in such a small village on successive days is a tragedy. The whole village is in a state of shock.”

Mr Lawrence, a gardener who previously worked for the Otter Trust in Earsham, died after his motorbike left the road at nearby Alburgh on Thursday morning.

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