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Moving tributes paid to tragic teens from Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 09:15 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:15 20 July 2012

A146/A143 Gillingham, scene of a fatal collision on Tuesday evening (17/07/2012)

A146/A143 Gillingham, scene of a fatal collision on Tuesday evening (17/07/2012)

© Archant 2012

TRIBUTES were paid this week to two popular Lowestoft teenagers who died in a car crash near Beccles.

Sam Jaggard and Kathryn Rivett, both 18, suffered fatal injuries in the collision on the A143-A146 Norwich road at Gillingham on Tuesday night. Their friend Georgia Puttock, also 18, was injured in the crash and remained in a “critical but stable” condition last night at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

The three former students of Kirkley High School – now East Point Academy – were driving towards Lowestoft at about 6.30pm when their red Vauxhall Corsa was in collision with a black Mercedes going in the opposite direction.

Kathryn, a front seat passenger, and Sam, a back-seat passenger, both died from their injuries, while Georgia, a former Norwich City College student who was driving the Corsa, suffered serious injuries.

Yesterday John Shanahan, vice- principal at East Point Academy, said the school was shocked and saddened by the “tragic loss” of Sam and Kathryn and by news that Georgia had been badly injured.

He said they had all attended Kirkley High from September 2007 until July 2010. “Kathryn was an outstanding student who was a high achiever at Kirkley. Her English and poetry was particularly strong and she was also very creative and successful in art. She was well liked by pupils and staff,” he said.

“Sam was a student who was really engaged in the life of the school. Involved in sport, particularly cricket where he was captain, Sam also represented the school at local business lunches and was often involved in the interviewing for new teachers. Sam was also well liked by staff and pupils. They will be sadly missed by the whole community and our thoughts and prayers are very much with their families and friends.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of messages were posted on the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook as friends paid tribute to Kathryn and Sam, and encouraged people to pray for Georgia.

Sam, a former Elm Tree Middle School pupil was a talented sportsman, well known in local golfing circles.

Charlie Wilderspin, secretary of the Suffolk Golf Union, said: “We were saddened to learn of the tragic car accident. Sam, a likeable young man, has for the past few years been a member of the county’s junior coaching programme and has represented the county juniors at several England qualifying events.

“This year he represented the county at second team level and, following a second place finish in the Suffolk Amateur Championship which enabled him to achieve a scratch handicap, he was selected and made his county first team debut against Northamptonshire. A promising career has been sadly ended at such a young age.”

Sam was a former member of Rookery Park Golf Club, in Carlton Colville, and a club spokesman said: “Rookery Park Golf Club was shocked and saddened by the terrible news of Sam’s death. Sam joined Rookery Park in 2007 and quickly established himself as one of the club’s most promising juniors. In 2010, Sam was part of a four man team that won the Suffolk Golf Union Junior Team Championship.

“Our thoughts are with Sam’s family at this very difficult time,” the spokesman added.

Most recently, Sam had been playing for Southwold Golf Club, and the club’s professional Robin Mann, who had been working with Sam for the past year, called him a “prodigious talent”.

He said: “Everyone is stunned by the news. We’re all in shock. He could have gone all the way but that opportunity has been taken away. He was an awesome talent and it’s sickening to know he won’t fulfil his potential.”

As well as golf, Sam had excelled at football and cricket.

Lowestoft Town Cricket Club’s first team captain, Peter Sims, said: “Sam was a very talented all-round cricketer who played in our youth sides and was nominated for county age group trials. Sam would have become a fine cricketer but for it clashing with his golf, and his passion for golf meant he could not commit to both and having seen his golfing success, you can understand why he took that decision.”

Ben Atkins, Kirkley and Pakefield (K&P) Football Club’s youth team assistant manager, said: “Sam briefly had a spell at K&P at U15/U16 level. For most of his youth football career he played for Mutford United, while having trials at Norwich City. He was a centre forward who scored goals for fun.”

Mr Atkins said the club was discussing proposals to hold a fund-raising event– possibly involving a football match or music – at its Walmer Road ground to raise money for the teenagers’ families.

The crash happened near a strawberry picking area on a stretch of road west of the McDonalds and BP roundabout. The occupants of the Mercedes, who are not local, were not seriously injured.

The road was closed for more than five hours as investigations were carried out and diversions were put in place.

A four-vehicle crash had also happened at the same spot at 8.45am on Tuesday, with one woman taken to the James Paget University Hospital with injuries described by police as “not life-changing”.

● Witnesses to the fatal crash on Tuesday night should call Norfolk police on 101.

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