UPDATE: Mart prepares for five minute silence to remember road accident victim
SHOWMEN were preparing for a five-minute silence at King’s Lynn Mart tonight, in memory of a three-year-old boy who died after he was hit by a car last night.
Today flowers marked the spot in King Street where the accident happened.
Bouquets of flowers today marked the spot where the boy, named on social networks as Rio, received severe head injuries.
“RIP little man,” a note on one said. “Our thoughts are with your family”.
The spot is at the end of King Street, between Prezzo and the Globe Hotel - next to the Tuesday Market Place, where Lynn Mart opened on Valentine’s Day.
Today Mart spokesman Don Gray said: “What we are going to do this evening is have a five minute silence in light of what has happened.
“The Mart rides normally would open at 6pm but the rides and music will not start until 6.05pm to show our respect for the little boy and his family.”
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Mr Gray said the incident did not happen at the Mart and hit back at suggestions the fair should close or be moved, adding: “It’s not Mart-related.”
More than 1,500 have signed a petition to close the road while the Mart is in progress.
One eyewitness to the incident, who stayed at the nearby Globe Hotel last night, said: “I was walking to the hotel when I saw the boy walk into the road. There was nothing I could do. It is absolutely heartbreaking.”
A manager at the Globe said a receptionist who was working last night was still “very shaken” after seeing the aftermath of the incident.
Arnas Rakstelis, manager at Prezzo, said his staff was made aware of the incident when police asked for a side door close to the scene to be shut.
“We were very busy here at the time but we made sure people couldn’t see it,” he said.
“We then had a lady come in here who was very stressed and we gave her water and helped her as much as we could.
“Someone told me there was a toy in the road and the boy went after it.”
Tracey Masterson, who works at the Property and Mortgage Bureau close to the crash site, on King Street, said: “The other girls working here were about to leave at the time but stayed here because they didn’t want to see anything.
“The police then taped up the road and the girls here said they saw a police officer speaking to the driver who they said was young and smartly dressed.
“I don’t think the Mart should be held on the Tuesday Market Place next year after what has happened.”
By this morning, more than 1,500 people had signed a petition to have King Street closed off to traffic, while Lynn Mart is under way on the neighbouring Tuesday Market Place.
West Norfolk council, which oversees safety at the fair, said: “We are devastated at the news of this traffic incident and our hearts go out to the family of this young boy at this time.
“The Mart has been coming to town for hundreds of years and has an excellent safety record.
“Every year an organising committee, consisting of the police, county highways, Norfolk County Council, representatives from the Showmen’s Guild, and the borough council, review the current arrangements.
“Before the mart opens an inspection is carried out to ensure
“Before the mart opens an inspection is carried out to ensure that all agreed measures have been taken.
“We now await the outcome of the police investigation into this tragic incident to see if lessons can be learned for the operation of the Mart.”
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, which is responsible for highways and road closures, said: “We really need to find out what the circumstances of the accident were, before deciding if there’s anything that can be done for the future.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident, which happened at around 5.30pm yesterday, between the Globe Hotel and Prezzo, near the corner of the Tuesday Market Place.
Last night hundreds sent their wishes to the family off the boy, who was named on social media as Rio.
The boy suffered what were described as severe head injuries after he was hit by a blue Audi A4 and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he later died.
The driver has been spoken to by officers investigating the crash. A police spokesman said a family liaison officer was now supporting the family.
“Norfolk police are appealing for witnesses to a fatal accident involving a young child in King’s Lynn’s King Street,” he said.
“Anyone who witnessed the collision or the manner of the driving of the Audi is asked to make contact with Norfolk Constabulary.”
King Street was closed between the Queen Street junction and the Tuesday Market Place for several hours after the accident. It was later re-opened.
Lynn Mart is currently under way on the Tuesday Market Place. While access to some streets around the square is restricted while the fair is in progress, King Street has been open to two-way traffic as usual.
Like much of Lynn town centre, the busy street has a 20mph speed limit.
A petition to close off the roads to traffic surrounding the Mart has been signed by more than 1,700 people.
Among the people to have signed the petition is King’s Lynn resident Shane Hyam who said: “I have a young son and would like to [know] he is safe walking around the Mart and not having to worry about motorists driving through such a busy time.”
Fellow Lynn resident Kayleigh McKinnom was at the scene as the emergency services arrived. She said: “I saw the aftermath and felt disturbed at the contrast between the bright lights of the rides, and the sombre lights of the police cars.”
Nanette Parsons, also from King’s Lynn, said: “Why does it take a tragedy to realise that the roads should be closed around the Mart on children’s day if not all the time it is here.”
Meanwhile tributes have been posted on social network website Twitter for the youngster.
People using the site have also appealed for other members to end their “tweets” with #RIPlittleRio in memory of the little boy.
Jemma Greef (@JemmaGreef) wrote: “Can’t stop thinking about the 3yr boy that died in King’s Lynn,Norfolk. What ever must his family be going through, so very sad #riplittlerio”
Ben McCartney (@BMcCartney1992) also wrote: “Horrible to hear about the little kid that got hit by a car and died in Lynn today. Thoughts are with everyone that knew him #RIPlittleRio”
Another person, known only as Sophie, tweeted: “The Mart is a fun fair that comes once a year to my town. It is a place for the whole town to have fun. Why end like this? #RIPlittleRio”
Anyone who witnessed the incident should contact the serious collision investigation team at Wymondham by calling 101.