Poignant words of grieving daughter

“I WAS lucky to have him as a dad.”Those are the poignant words written in a moving letter by the eight-year-old daughter of Stephen Lee Austin who died suddenly while watching television earlier this month.

“I WAS lucky to have him as a dad.”

Those are the poignant words written in a moving letter by the eight-year-old daughter of Stephen Lee Austin who died suddenly while watching television earlier this month.

The short but touching note, which can be published today was penned by Mr Austin's eldest daughter Lauren and sent to The Evening Star after she read the front page tribute to her father in last Friday's paper.

Mr Austin, who lived in Woodbridge until six months ago, was found dead on March 13 at his Shropshire home.

The Melton Primary School pupil's letter starts: “I never wanted him to go, especially at 28,” and continues: “He meant all the world to us. If someone was in trouble, he would help, I was lucky to have him as a dad.”

Today, Lauren's mother, Wendy Curtins, Mr Austin's former partner, said her daughter had written down her feelings in the letter of her own accord.

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She said: “She saw in the Star that you can reply to the stories with a letter, so she wrote the letter, put it in an envelope and got the stamp for it. Then she presented it to me to post.

“She has always liked writing letters and I think this a good way for her to express her feelings. I think it's helped her.”

Lauren's grandmother, Margaret Austin, who lives in Hempnall, near Norwich, added: “Lauren was very close to her dad. She felt this was her own little tribute, it was her way of saying what she wanted to.”

Mr Austin, a former Farlingaye High School and Butley Primary pupil, was found by his partner Joanna Dean, 33.

The cause of his death is still unknown although Mrs Austin said kidney failure could have been responsible. An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned.

As well as Lauren, Mr Austin had a four-year-old son with Miss Curtis, called Kai, as well as three-year-old son Joseph from another relationship.

A thanks giving service is being held in Woodbridge on April 6. It will take place at St John's Church. The family request that those attending the service do not wear black.

If you would like to pay tribute to Mr Austin write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The letter in full:

About me dad Lee

I never wanted him to go, especially at 28.

He always liked singing, his favourite song was Island in the Stream.

He was lucky because he earned lots of money.

He meant all the world to us.

If someone was in trouble, he would help.

I was lucky to have him as a dad.

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