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Families pay tribute to Croydon tram crash victims

Published 14/11/2016

Floral tributes and photographs left near the scene where a tram crashed, killing seven people, in Croydon
Floral tributes and photographs left near the scene where a tram crashed, killing seven people, in Croydon

The heartbroken family of a "larger than life" man killed in the Croydon tram tragedy have paid an emotional tribute to him.

Robert Huxley from New Addington, south London, along with five other men and a woman, were killed when the tram they were travelling on derailed and flipped onto its side.

More than 50 people were left injured in the crash which occurred during the morning rush hour on Wednesday.

The driver of the tram was subsequently arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and questioned by police before being bailed until May.

In a statement the relatives of 63-year-old Mr Huxley, referred to as Bob, said on the day of the crash he had travelled by tram up to east Croydon - a journey he had made thousands of times.

"As you can appreciate for his loved ones it's been a difficult and uncertain time, the confirmation of his death only came late this afternoon," the statement read.

"Bob was a larger than life character and very hardworking. A loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, brother, uncle and dear friend to many. He was also a lifelong Chelsea supporter and a season ticket holder.

"This tragedy will have far reaching consequences and impact many people for a significant time. We are all heartbroken."

On Saturday British Transport Police (BTP) released the final three names of the victims after consultation with the coroner.

The family and friends of Donald Collett, 62, from Croydon, south London, said they were "struggling to deal with this tragic news".

"Don was a well loved, funny and generous man, who could light up a room with his smile. He is tragically leaving behind a loving family, partner, adored friends and work colleagues," they said in a statement.

"Please rest in peace and know you are truly loved and greatly missed."

The family of Philip Logan, 52, from New Addington, said he would be "immensely missed by all that knew him".

"Philip Logan known to all who knew him as Loag, a loving husband to Marilyn, brother to Susan, father to Lee, Tracy, Lisa and Adele, grandfather and great grandfather. He was a true family man and generous friend to all with a magnificently dry sense of humour.

"Phil was a man with more love, compassion and zest for life than words can express."

Mother-of-two Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, from New Addington; Mark Smith, a 35-year-old from Croydon who had an 18-month-old son; Philip Seary, 57, a grandfather from Croydon and Dane Chinnery, 19, from New Addington, also died in the tragedy.

On Remembrance Sunday the seven victims were reportedly included in the town's annual commemoration service during which their names were read out.

The day before a group of up to 100 mourners marched to the scene and held a vigil where flowers and tributes had been left in memory of the victims.

The wrecked tram had earlier been removed from the site by lorry and taken away to be checked by investigators.

BTP detectives and officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) are probing what led to the two-carriage tram leaving the tracks near Sandilands station at around 6.10am.

Officials said the tram was travelling at a "significantly higher speed than is permitted" as it entered a tight bend before flipping on to its side and sliding for a distance.

The driver, a 42-year-old man from Beckenham, south London, was arrested at the scene. It is understood that establishing if the driver was asleep or had blacked out are lines of inquiry.

An interim report into what happened will be published by the RAIB next week, with a final report, including any safety recommendations, coming at the conclusion of the investigation.

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