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Mellis: Community leaders express sadness following the death of 20-year-old William Smith

PUBLISHED: 19:31 22 July 2014 | UPDATED: 19:31 22 July 2014

Emergency crews were called to the single-vehicle collision in Eye Road (pictured) in Hoxne shortly before midnight. Pic: Callum Maclean

Emergency crews were called to the single-vehicle collision in Eye Road (pictured) in Hoxne shortly before midnight. Pic: Callum Maclean

Archant

A community has expressed sadness following the death of William Smith.

William Smith, 20, of The Common, Mellis, near Eye, died after a silver Ford Ranger crashed in to a tree Eye Road, Hoxne, near Diss, at around 11.50pm.

Police, paramedics, firefighters, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and a volunteer doctor from the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service were all called to the scene of the single-vehicle collision.

Despite their attempts, Mr Smith, the driver of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was a former pupil of Hartismere High School, had overcome leukaemia, and was well known within the village.

Headmaster Jim McAtear said: “It’s simply heartbreaking news. Everyone here is utterly saddened for William and his family and our hearts go out to them all.”

Mid Suffolk District Councillor Diana Kearsley said upon hearing the news: “I send my sympathies to his family and parents. It’s a tragic loss of a young life.”

Suffolk County Councillor Jessica Fleming said: “I’m dreadfully saddened that a young person has lost his life in an accident that could happen to anyone.

“My condolences go out to his family. If there’s anything I can do for his family then I am pleased to be contacted.”

He was a regular at the Railway Tavern in Mellis and helped the pub’s landlady Ester Deocampo and her partner Frank Hill to set up the Mellis Music and Beer Festival which took place at the pub on Saturday (July 19).

Miss Deocampo described Mr Smith as a “hero” to those who knew him and said he was planning to start his own business.

She added: “Everyone is shocked about the death. We can’t really understand what has happened.

“The guy has been a hero for us, he has never been bad to anyone. All his friends, everybody and everyone in here is in tears and I don’t know how we are going to cope with this because he was a close friend and customer.

“We are basically shocked about what has happened.”

Miss Deocampo described him as “friendly” and “helpful,” adding: “Basically, he was the type of person you could ask and he would always help.”

She added he had recovered from the leukaemia and his mother had participated in fund raising runs to help fight the condition.

Mr Smith’s death is the 20th on Suffolk’s roads in 2014. Last year, a total of 25 motorists died in the county.

A number of floral tributes were also left at the scene of the crash, which destroyed a wire fence in front of a garden and tore bark off the bottom of a tree, while parts of the car’s front bumper were also laying at the site.

One tribute read “Dear Will, gone but not forgotten, always in our hearts. Love Thomas, Stacey.”

It is thought no other vehicles or people were involved in the incident.

The road was closed until 5.30am to allow officers to carry out an investigation.

Police are keen to hear from anyone who had been travelling along the road who may have witnessed the collision or seen the car travelling along the road prior to the collision. Call 101.

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