Farewell to fun-loving road worker

PUBLISHED: 14:01 23 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

THE grief stricken family of a Suffolk road worker who was killed as he was putting out signs on the A12 have paid a moving tribute to a son and brother who touched the hearts of everyone he met.

THE grief stricken family of a Suffolk road worker who was killed as he was putting out signs on the A12 today paid a moving tribute to son and brother who touched the hearts of everyone he met.

Fun loving John Minns, 24, was killed on the Ipswich-bound carriageway of the road between Stratford St Mary and Capel St Mary at 9pm on Friday. He was working in the central reservation when the accident happened.

The death of the former Farlingaye High School pupil came just days before a pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene of an accident on the A14 near Haughley and another on the A143 at Stanton near Bury St Edmunds. The double tragedy brings the county's road-death tally to three in as many days.

Today John's parents Margaret, 45, and John, 48, described their son as a fun loving and out going personality who loved to play the fool and make others laugh.

"Everyone is just devastated by his death. So many people have come up to us to say what a lovely lad he was," said Mrs Minns, of Bonds Corner, Grundisburgh.

"He was always so full of fun – and he loved his job. He loved being outside and he was a practical sort of person."

Mr Minns senior, who is divorced from his wife and lives at Bakers Pasture, Grundisburgh, paid tribute to the way his son had pulled himself together after leaving school and worked hard at his job.

"He was really getting his life sorted. He was buying a house and was working hard to pay for it.

"We all knew the dangers of the job," he added.

John had been working with Ipswich-based PF Traffic Management since he left school. He moved to Fitzgerald Road, in Bramford – to a terraced house a few doors away from his best friend Johnny Blair, 27 - just four months before his death.

He leaves behind a sister Charlotte, 15, who is a pupil at his former school in Woodbridge and his brother Paul, 20.

Outside work he loved the Ipswich night life scene and he was a regular at Pam's House club nights – a group of young promoters working in the area who are known for their energetic and outlandish parties.

Meanwhile, police today warned walkers to keep off busy roads and to make themselves seen after the death of four pedestrians on Suffolk's roads in less than a week.

In one of the most recent tragedys a walker was involved in a fatal collision with a car just after 1.15am yesterday on the eastbound carriageway of the A14 near the Spikes Lane junction.

"Be safe and be seen," a police spokeswoman urged today.

"Avoid walking along busy main roads when at all possible and if you are in a position where you have to walk along a main road, ensure you do every thing you can to be visible to oncoming traffic.

"Wear light coloured, reflective clothing or anything that makes you stand out to the traffic," she added. "The key thing is to avoid walking along busy main roads at night when you can't be seen."

Police will not release details of the victim until the next of kin have been informed but the victim is known to be a man from Stowmarket.

People who live close to the scene of the crash have described how sirens and flashing lights woke them from their sleep.

Joan Narey, 67, who runs and lives near Narey's Garden Centre on the A14, said: "I think it was the police helicopter that woke me up from my sleep at about 2am but I can't be 100 per cent certain.

"I didn't leave my room but my mother said that she saw flashing lights on the road."

Ms Narey said that the road been notorious for accidents in the past but had improved since 50mph speed restrictions were introduced.

Her 30-year-old son David, who also lives near the garden centre, added: "There have been so many accidents over the years but there hasn't really been anything since the introduction of the 50mph limit."

Another pedestrian – a man from Stanton – was killed when he was hit by a lorry on the A143. The accident was reported to police just before 3am on Sunday.

A Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS) doctor attended both accidents and confirmed that the two victims were pronounced dead at the scenes.

He said: "At Haughley a pedestrian wandered out onto the dual carriageway and was struck by a car that was probably doing about 50mph. He suffered multiple injuries and was probably killed instantaneously."

He confirmed that an Ipswich ambulance and a rapid response vehicle attended the A14 crash.

The death toll on Suffolk roads rose to four in a week after Neil Stubbins, 22, Drummond Court, of Bury St Edmunds, was killed on the A14 near Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Stubbins, who had a mental age of five, wandered onto the dual carriageway and was hit by an articulated lorry in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The accidents on Sunday morning bring the death tally in crashes on Suffolk roads this year to 29. Another three people have also died after being taken ill at the wheel of their vehicles. Last year, 56 people died in crashes on the county's roads.

In another smash last night a motorist received minor injuries when his car collided with a lamppost in Station Road, Stowmarket.

The driver did not require ambulance crews to take him to hospital after the accident which happened just before 7pm.

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