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Anger as Council van is parked over tribute to Ben Smith who died in Bamber Bridge crash

Posted on - 21st February, 2021 - 6:31pm | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall, Preston News, South Ribble News, Walton-le-Dale
Ben Smith tribute Pic: Lucie Eaves
The tribute to Ben Smith at Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre

Family and friends of Ben Smith have expressed their anger after a South Ribble Borough Council van was parked over a tribute to the 20-year-old, who died in a collision in Bamber Bridge last week.

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The van unfortunately damaged candles and flowers laid in memory of Ben at the Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre car park.

Ben, from Walton-le-Dale, was riding an electronic scooter when he was hit by a Ford Transit van in Station Road on Thursday 11 February. He died shortly after from his injuries.

A friend of Ben’s, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was really upsetting to see that a council worker had done such a thing. If it was his family or friend he would be just as angry as Ben’s friends and family are.

“It’s shocking that all the council worker had to say was, ‘I didn’t see it’, when the memorial we have made for Ben is clear and it was daylight.”

Council van parked over Ben's tribute Pic: Lucie Eaves
This photo of the Council van parked over Ben’s tribute was shared on Facebook, causing widespread anger

The car park tribute was created in addition to one where the accident happened in Station Road, so that friends and family had somewhere quieter to pay their respects.

“One of the bunches of flowers was parked on, but once the van was moved we managed to place them again nicely. The candles had moved with him driving over them and a couple were squashed,” the friend said.

Read more: Funeral fundraiser set up in memory of Ben Smith who died in Bamber Bridge crash

After making a complaint to South Ribble Borough Council, the friend said they were told the incident would be investigated.

The friend had earlier taken to a local Facebook group to express their anger about what had happened.

Hundreds of people responded, with many expressing disbelief that the council worker hadn’t been able to avoid parking on the tribute.

Councillor Matthew Trafford replied to the post, saying: “Hi everyone, I went to both primary and high school with Ben so totally understand and agree with the upset at this.

“I’m one of the Councillors for Lostock Hall on South Ribble Borough Council and I have put a complaint in and will try to make sure this is looked into. Everyone upset is completely right to be annoyed and I’ll be raising this with our staff.”

Ben Smith Pic: South Ribble Police
Ben Smith Pic: South Ribble Police

Speaking of Ben, the friend said: “He was always the peacemaker out of all his friends and got along with anyone he met. He will be missed by so many.”

The driver of the van involved in the collision, Samuel Bretherton, 25, of Mellor Road, Leyland, has been charged with murder.



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