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Grim shadow cast over Trimley

PUBLISHED: 18:49 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

THE killing of Vicky Hall meant the twin Trimley

villages would never be the same again.

For so long the communities of St Mary and St Martin had been regarded as a tranquil and safe haven, traditional villages, which have welcomed many newcomers as they have grown.

THE killing of Vicky Hall meant the twin Trimley

villages would never be the same again.

For so long the communities of St Mary and St Martin had been regarded as a tranquil and safe haven, traditional villages, which have welcomed many newcomers as they have grown.

Despite the addition of hundreds of new homes, the Trimleys are still truly rural and retain that special village atmosphere – especially along the High Road.

Their safety and comfort, low crime rate, closeness to the A14, Ipswich and other commuter areas, made them desirable for those wanting to live away from the big towns.

But the murder of Vicky changed all that forever and today it is still a community reeling from the shock that such a thing could happen in their midst.

It is almost unthinkable as you walk around the Trimleys that

anyone could be snatched from the street and killed.

It is the sort of incident reported on the TV news – the type of

terrible crime which happened in other places. In London. In other big cities. Not Trimley.

Even at night, in the early hours, Trimley has been a safe place to walk, alone. Few people would think twice about their safety.

The murder left people frightened to go out alone, unsure if their streets are safe, unwilling to take that risk. Gradually that fear has started to subside, but even so

parents never let their children

forget what has happened.

Out of the emotion of grief and tragedy though so often come

positive things.

And in Trimley, it was no different.

The way the village rallied round, bonded together, supported each other during those terrible first few hours, days and weeks after Vicky vanished and later when her body was found, was remarkable.

As people mourned, the Rev Rod Corke posed the question in many people's minds when he said: "So how do we cope and move forward as a suffering community united in our grief and sadness at what has happened?"

Trimley knew how it had to heal that grief – by helping each other through it.

It is a close-knit community, a friendly community – two villages where everyone knows each other, villages with a heart.

If you went to Trimley St Mary Primary School, belonged to the Brownies, attended Sunday School and church – as Vicky did – then there will be a network of children, teenagers, mums and dads, aunts and uncles who know you.

Add to that the family's very close involvement with Trimley Red Devils football club and that Graham and Lorinda both work locally and the net spreads.

Directly or indirectly, Vicky's death touched hundreds of people. They all hurt; they all experienced deep sadness, fear, bewilderment, and horror.

Mr Corke urged the villagers to help the family. They needed space and time to grieve, but the last thing they wanted was to be alone. They needed love and support from those around them. He urged people not to shy away.

He said at the time: "We may feel powerless and useless in the face of the pain that Lorinda, Graham and Steven are going through. We want to support them but don't know how and are frightened of saying or doing the wrong thing, making them feel worse.

"But by keeping in contact, being ourselves, continuing to walk this difficult path with them, we are showing our love and support. It is not always what we say that helps but being prepared to be alongside someone in their hurt.

"In the day's ahead, Lorinda, Graham and Steven will need

people to laugh with, cry with, have a hug with, go out with, be normal with."

And the community did as their vicar had bid them – and they

rallied round.

Graham, Lorinda and Steven were overwhelmed with the way the community supported them with love kindness and consideration – so much so that they threw themselves into the campaign to provide a memorial to their daughter "as a way of giving something back", a way of repaying those that had given to them in their time of

greatest need.

They also thanked the

community personally.

"We would like to thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for the huge support we have received in this time of great tragedy for our family," they said in a poignant message to the community.

"We have been greatly moved by everyone's support, particularly from the community in Trimley and Felixstowe, and, of course, from our family and friends.

"Without this support, the tragedy would have been

impossible for us to bear. The

community's support, together with the care, hard work and dedication of the police, has kept us going. We can't thank you enough."

The family received hundreds of messages and cards and many bunches of flowers, left by the low brick wall at the entrance to the

little enclave of houses where the Halls live or outside the mobile police station near where Vicky was last seen alive. They showed how much everyone cared and meant such a lot to the family, trapped in their home in the few days after Vicky vanished, waiting for news, the fear of the worst growing with each hour that passed.

The family praised the people of Felixstowe and Trimley for their "tremendous spirit of togetherness".

Their message continued: "The churches at Trimley have been a great source of comfort and we would like to thank the priests and ministers for their care and support.

"It would be impossible for us to write to everyone who has

contacted us – but we thank each and every person concerned. We can assure you that you have been helping us a great deal and have kept up our spirits at such a difficult time.

"We have had letters and cards from all over the country and we are grateful for all of them.

"We have been touched by the support that has come from all directions. In the midst of our tragedy we just wanted to say a great big 'thank you' to you all."

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