Wife’s tributes to Environment Agency worker who died when crane toppled into icy Fen drain

ENVIRONMENT Agency worker Simon Wenn died doing a job he loved when his crane toppled into an icy Fen drain.

Mr Wenn, 43, of Main Road, Three Holes, had been working along the Old Bedford River at Mepal last Wednesday when his 28-tonne crane fell into the drain.

Firefighters tried in vain to free him from the submerged cab but he was declared dead three hours later. An investigation into the accident was launched immediately by Health and Safety Executive officials.

Mr Wenn’s wife, Beryl, said: “He loved his work. He was a family man and didn’t really go anywhere - it was work or home and that was it. He had done the job for 18 years and loved it.

“He had been working in the same place for about three weeks dredging silt out of the river and he was used to being in the cranes.”

Mrs Wenn, a teaching assistant at Upwell Primary School, was told about the accident when police visited the school.

The couple have a daughter, Susan, 18, and 17-year-old twin sons Jamie and Lee.

Most Read

The family previously lived in Outwell but moved to Three Holes just over a year ago to a home with enough land for Susan’s horse.

Mr Wenn is the son of Brian and Ros Wenn of Upwell, and he leaves a brother, Jim, of West Walton. He had attended both the primary and secondary schools in Upwell and his previous jobs had been with a window company and on a farm.

A funeral service is being held at St Peter’s Church Upwell at 11am on Monday.

Geoff Brighty, area manager for the Environment Agency said: “I and everyone at the Environment Agency are extremely upset by this tragic accident. All our thoughts and sympathies are with our colleague’s friends and family.”

Last Thursday tributes were paid in Parliament to Mr Wenn. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs: “I’m sorry to have to tell the house of some sad news that a member of the Environment Agency staff was tragically killed yesterday in an accident.

“I hope the whole House will join me in extending our condolences to his family at this very difficult time.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Labour and by the Tory Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Anne Mcintosh.

The Environment Agency has been dredging the shallow Old Bedford - a navigable man-made river which flows from Cambridgeshire to Salter’s lode near Downham Market - to manage the flood risk in the area.

Both the river and its banks had become frozen in the recent cold snap.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter