Father's words of comfort for driver

AMID the depths of despair, Kiara Stevenson-Mann's father today set aside his own grief to send a message of comfort to the driver of the coach which took her life.

AMID the depths of despair, Kiara Stevenson-Mann's father today set aside his own grief to send a message of comfort to the driver of the coach which took her life.

Despite still trying to come to terms with the loss of his five-year-old daughter, Colin Mann said he bore no malice against the driver involved.

The 29-year-old, of Ireland Road, Ipswich, also said he was appalled rumours were circulating that he had been involved in an row with him at the scene.

"Everyone must think the rumour is true," said Mr Mann, who was with Kiara at the time of her death.


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"My brother said he had heard there had been problems when he was in town on Thursday.

"I feel for the driver too, because I know it was an accident. I understand how he must feel."

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Mr Mann had been with Kiara as she was cycling along the pavement in Landseer Road just before her bike accidentally came off the path and into the road. The accident left Mr Mann totally shocked.

"At the time I could not even go near Kiara," he said. "I never spoke to the driver. I don't bear him any ill will at all."

Although nothing will diminish the pain he and Kiara's mum, Michelle Stevenson, are feeling they have taken some consolation from the way the whole community has responded.

Ever since the Cliff Lane Primary School pupil's death the couple have been overwhelmed by the good wishes and tributes from family, friends and even those who did not know their little girl but have been touched by the tragedy.

"Michelle and I appreciate everything everyone has done," said Mr Mann "It is amazing how the community comes together when something like this happens. I am really grateful to everyone for all the collections, tributes and flowers."

Although comforted by others, Ms Stevenson and Mr Mann still have to find a way to deal with their anguish which remains as raw as it was on August 14, the day Kiara was taken from them.

While struggling to cope with their own emotions they also have to console Kiara's three-year-old sister Georgia.

"It is hard and very painful," said Mr Mann. "Georgia has taken it very hard in every way."

Kiara's funeral will take place at All Hallows Church, Landseer Road, Ipswich, on September 2 at 2pm.

nFollowing many enquiries by people in the area, the Evening Star has set up the Kiara Fund.

The money collected is to be spent in whatever way her family wishes.

Any donations should be sent to the Kiara Fund, c/o Geraldine Thompson, Editors Secretary, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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