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Family friend pens tribute to sisters

PUBLISHED: 17:55 18 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:55 05 July 2010

A SONG written by Indie rock band Athlete is being dedicated to the memory of two teenage sisters killed in a tragic road accident.

Jenny and Claire Stoddart died following a horrific car crash in July 2006 and family friend Carey Willetts, who is bass player and backing singer in the band, wrote It's Not Your Fault for inclusion on their latest album Beyond the Neighbourhood.

A SONG written by Indie rock band Athlete is being dedicated to the memory of two teenage sisters killed in a tragic road accident.

Jenny and Claire Stoddart died following a horrific car crash in July 2006 and family friend Carey Willetts, who is bass player and backing singer in the band, wrote It's Not Your Fault for inclusion on their latest album Beyond the Neighbourhood.

Carey, who is currently on a holiday in the Waveney area, said he was so moved by parents Phil and Heather Stoddart's reaction to their daughters' deaths he became inspired to write the track.

He said: “My wife Becky grew up in Lowestoft and knew Phil and Heather really well through her teenage years. She did youth work in the town when she was growing up so she got to know them and Jenny and Claire.

“My introduction to the family came at the funeral. I went along with Becky and I was really struck by the way Phil and Heather carried themselves and the way they coped with the worse thing in the world that could ever happen.

“It's Not Your Fault came out a bit later, but out of that time and that situation and their response. I don't know if I could be that good in that kind of situation.”

The song, includes phrases such as “gone so fast and now you're left with nothing at all” and “I can't save you because the brightest lights are closing in on us” and for anybody who knew Claire, 18, or Jenny, 15, will be a poignant reminder of them.

Carey said: “I don't mind people knowing why the song is there but I wanted people to hear and understand it.

“I felt like it was something they could discover for themselves. It wasn't something I had set out in my mind and I definitely didn't want to take advantage of the situation.

“It was an awful thing that happened and the way the family dealt with it was amazing.”

The band is famed for their top four single Wires, which also earned them the Ivor Novello Award for best contemporary song.

“They have also been nominated in the past for a Mercury Music Prize.

Carey, who lives in London with Becky and their eight-week-old son Micah, is working on writing a fourth album with the band, which is out in the new year.

He still manages to come back to Lowestoft to visit his wife's family and is looking forward to a tour supporting 1990s band James in December.

Athlete's tribute to the death of the girls is not the first time a band has been inspired to make a dedication to them.

The Dirty Pretty Things supported the Make Roads Safe campaign after the accident, which also claimed the life of the girls' close friend Carla Took, 17, with a concert at The Coronet, in south London.

They were the support act to the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the gig all three girls attended at Ipswich Town Football Club before their the crash and felt compelled to get involved.

Jenny and Claire's father Phil has recently released his autobiographical book A12 to Heaven, about how he has coped with his daughter's deaths and how being a Christian has helped in his grief.

It was best-seller at Waterstones in Lowestoft last week and nearly 200 copies have been sold at the annual New Frontiers conference for church leaders in Brighton.

The Oasis Christian Bookshop, in Bevan Street, is willing to offer free posting and packaging of the book to anyone contacting them by email at oasishop@aol.com or by phoning 01502 512302 quoting The Journal.

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