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Phil's book tribute to daughters

PUBLISHED: 12:22 13 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:36 05 July 2010

A FATHER whose two teenager daughters were killed in a tragic car accident has written a poignant book about coping with their deaths, in the hope of helping other parents who have suffered a similar fate.

A FATHER whose two teenager daughters were killed in a tragic car accident has written a poignant book about coping with their deaths, in the hope of helping other parents who have suffered a similar fate.

Phil Stoddart is releasing A12 to Heaven for people who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one and for those struggling to deal with all the unanswered questions they may have.

It also draws on Mr Stoddart's religious views and the knowledge that his girls, Claire, 18, and Jenny, 15, are together and safe.

The teenagers were at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Ipswich in the hours before they tragically died on July 1 2006, along with their friend Carla Took.

The Vauxhall Astra, being driven by Claire was heading back to their home in Eskdale Way, Lowestoft, when Ben Morphey, 23, who was travelling in the opposite direction, lost control and ploughed into their car near Blythburgh.

The tragic crash also claimed the lives of Simon Bonner, 40, and Kim Abbot, 41, both of Yoxford, who were in Morphey's Renault Laguna, and seriously injured the sisters' other friend Sarah Mitchell, who must have another operation later this year. Their fifth companion Adam Cox survived with minor injuries.

Morphey is currently serving a six-and-a-half year jail sentence after having his term cut by two years by the Court of Appeal.

The first part of the book is dedicated to Mr Stoddart's life and how up until 1984 he was an atheist, before he found the Christian faith.

It details the tearing loss he, his wife Heather, son Tom and daughter Amy suffered when they found out about Jenny and Claire, and then leads to blog entries from his diaries, as well as diary entries written by Jenny and Claire.

The last chapter is given to the girls' best friends, with extracts from Sarah and Adam.

Mr Stoddart this week described how Jenny and Claire had set up a My Space account for him as a tease before their death, which set the ball rolling for a series of online blogs, which he took comfort from after their deaths.

“With bereavement, you don't have to face it alone, the thing that was good to me going through this was that I am a Christian and I had a faith. Writing is a way of dealing with grief. I felt convicted to do the writing that was used for something far beyond me and my own good. The book didn't come till later.”

Much of A12 to Heaven is tear jerking and heart wrenching, but it also filled with hope and forgiveness and shows the strength found from his Christian faith.

The book has already been endorsed by John Humphrys, author and BBC1 newsreader who said: “Their faith also gave them the strength to forgive the man who had killed their daughters - something that would be beyond most of us, I suspect.”

Mr Stoddart added: “The really good thing to me about the book is that it reveals a side to their characters that some of their friends may have suspected, but not completely understood.”

He has now set up a company Last Word Publications with friends and the book is now available from the Oasis Christian Bookshop in Bevan Street, Lowestoft, or online from www.lastwordpublications.com

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