Community devasted by teenager's death

TOM Marshall should be looking forward to the end of his A-Levels and life after school - but his friends were today preparing to mark his death with an impromptu memorial service.

TOM Marshall should be looking forward to the end of his A-Levels and life after school - but his friends were today preparing to mark his death with an impromptu memorial service.

The popular teenager died when his motorcycle was in collision with a car near his Orford home on Friday evening.

Over the weekend floral tributes have been set up at the scene of the tragedy - and his friends from Farlingaye High School were preparing for an impromptu memorial service at Elmhurst Park in Woodbridge at the end of the afternoon.

Tom, who was 18 was riding a Suzuki motorbike along Ipswich Road when it collided with a red Mazda car just after 5pm on Friday.

Paramedics and police officers went to the scene but he was pronounced dead when they arrived.

A page on the social networking site, Facebook, has been set up in memory of him and more than 400 members have already joined. His friends have organised the memorial service after school where they plan to gather for a picnic and pay their last respects to him.

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The message on Facebook reads: “We are all going to go to Elmhurst Park and pay our respects to the late, great Thomas Marshall. Bring food that reminds you of him as we shall have a picnic thing and reminisce about him.

“The aim of this memorial is to celebrate Tom's life, in order for us to not forgot him and all the good things that he has done for all of us.”

Tom, of Gedgrave Road, was the youngest of three. His family are well known in the community and are heavily involved in village life as his mother is a practice nurse and his father runs the local youth club.

An atmosphere of grief was palpable in Orford following the tragedy, which local rector Rev David Murdoch described as having brought "intense sadness" to the village.

Stuart Bacon, who runs Orford Craft Shop in Front Street, said: "It has had a major impact on us all. Almost everyone has been affected because he was such a likable chap who everyone seemed to know.

"I have been affected by his death as have my staff. It's almost as if they have lost one of their own relatives. I often used to pass him in the car. As I was leaving Orford, he would be returning on his motorbike.

"We have of course had deaths here before but I think this has really hit home because he was so young. A lot of people have been coming into the shop for cards of condolence."

Another villager said the news of Thomas's death "devastated the village" but added that there would be "huge support" for his grieving family.

The road where the collision took place was closed for more than four hours on Friday while police carried out an investigation.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

AT the now peacefully still scene of the accident bundles of flowers and heartfelt messages lie in memory of a lost friend.

One message read: "Tom, you were like a brother to me for my whole life. You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, best friend."

Another simply said: "I love you Tom, always will. You will always be here for us like you always were."

One friend wrote: "I'm going to miss you so much. You are my oldest friend and I will never forget the good memories we shared together."

Among the other tributes from his friends on the Facebook page was one from Danielle Sian Bailey.

She said: “Rest in peace Tom, my thoughts are with you and every single one of your closest friends and all your family. This is so unbelievably unfair.”

Another reads: “RIP Tom. You were a kind hearted, genuine guy. A man of integrity. Your passing has come as a shock and devastation to us all.”

Abi Elsom said: “Rest in peace Tom. You will be greatly missed by so many people.I'm so sorry.”