Tributes paid to ‘adorable’ April
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:37 09 June 2015
THE death of an ‘energetic and adorable’ seven-year-old girl, who was killed in a collision with a car during a family bike ride, has prompted calls for road safety improvements.
April Reeves was cycling on the combined footpath and cycleway, next to the 60mph A371 between RAF Locking and the Helicopter Museum, with her mother and 10-year-old brother when the incident occurred.
The exact circumstances of the incident are still being investigated, though no arrests have been made.
April’s family say they are ‘completely devastated by her death’, adding that April was ‘greatly loved by all her family and friends’.
Locking Primary School, which April attended, cancelled its Monday morning pre-school club and posted bereavement support on its website to help the parents of grieving classmates.
Headteacher Joanne Jones said: “April was a busy, energetic, adorable little girl who will always be remembered for her sense of fun and cheeky grin.
“She was a fantastic class member and a great friend to many.
“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and friends.”
The school held small assemblies last week to give the children a chance to talk about their feelings and ask questions.
That afternoon, year two parents joined staff for coffee with a bereavement councillor who gave advice on how to answer questions and support their children.
Mrs Jones is planning a school memorial, and said: “On Friday a large chalk flower will be drawn on the playground. This is for parents and children to add any coins which will form a collection for the family. The flower will stay out until the end of the day for anybody to add to throughout the day.
“In a few months’ time, the school will be looking at a lasting memorial which can be used by the whole school community.
“The children have already begun to think about what this might look like.”
The village’s St Augustine’s Church has started a book of condolence – which will be at the church from 9am-5pm today (Thursday) and later presented to April’s family – while friends are also invited to light a candle in her memory.
Locking Primary pupils have all written messages which have been assembled into a flower book which will be in the church, too.
The A371 roadside has also been decorated with dozens of flower bouquets and heartfelt messages, including a grey teddy bear from April’s parents.
Others have been leaving tributes on social media, including Debbie Hodge, who said: “I have just been to lay some flowers at the site with my little girl, such a devastating tragedy.”
And Laura Winters said: “So sad when someone so young is taken. My deepest condolences to this poor little girl’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Heidi Littlewood Hibbert also said: “It’s tragic. We must do something about that road and others around the village and camp that are not safe for kids.”
Thousands of concerned members of the public have backed calls to improve safety on the A371 cycle path in the wake of April’s death.
In just two days, more than 2,500 people signed a petition calling for an underpass or bridge to link Weston and Locking for cyclists and pedestrians.
The petition is addressed to North Somerset Council and Weston MP John Penrose.
Its author wrote: “I think a foot or cycle path that separates people from this road and links them to have safe passage to town and local areas without worry of fear from passing traffic would be a huge benefit to the local community.
“With all the extra housing and development happening in the area this should have been something that was considered before planning was granted, and been included in the cost of redeveloping the area.”
People have also started a fundraising bid to help support the family financially.
So far, £1,800 has been donated to the fund. To donate, visit http://fnd.us/c/4102Cf
Police remain keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident. If you have information, contact the police on 101, quoting log number 552.