Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Tributes to branch death schoolgirl

Sophie Howard, 13, died after being hit by a falling tree branch

The parents of a 13-year-old girl who died after being hit by a falling tree branch while playing in a park have paid tribute to their daughter.

Sophie Howard was struck by the branch as she sat on a bench in Middletons Road Recreation Ground in Yaxley, near Peterborough, at about 2.30pm on Thursday.

Friends of the girl, a student at Sawtry Community College, told the Peterborough Evening Telegraph that they had spent time at the park after their school closed because of industrial action.

Ambulance crews were alerted at 2.32pm and sent a fast response car, an ambulance and an ambulance officer to the sports ground. She was taken to Peterborough City Hospital where she died.

The incident is not being treated as suspicious. The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

Cambridgeshire Police issued a statement from Sophie's parents, Martin and Laura Howard. It said: "Sophie was a beautiful girl who had so many friends and we will miss her with all our heart.

"She was enthusiastic at school and liked English. She loved music, especially JLS and Jessie J. She was an excellent runner and enjoyed running the Race for Life for charity.

"She was a typical girlie girl and loved socialising, make-up and fashion. Her friends were very important to her.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and family for their support at this difficult time. Sophie has a twin brother who is also suffering greatly.

"Our beloved daughter's death was a tragic incident, which occurred only 24 hours ago, and we do not want it to be connected to any other events. We politely ask that our privacy be respected at this time and we will not be issuing anything further."

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