Gallery: Father pays tribute to his little girl

PUBLISHED: 17:11 20 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:20 02 June 2010

The scene of the accident

The scene of the accident

A HEARTBROKEN father today (Thu) paid tribute to his little girl who died after the car she was travelling in with her mother, plunged down the steep banks of a Fenland drain. Nine-year-old Charlotte Walker, of March Road, Tipps End, Welney, died

A HEARTBROKEN father today (Thu) paid tribute to his little girl who died after the car she was travelling in with her mother, plunged down the steep banks of a Fenland drain.

Nine-year-old Charlotte Walker, of March Road, Tipps End, Welney, died following the accident which happened at about 3,40pm on Wednesday at the B1098 Bedlam Bridge, Sixteen Foot Bank, at Stonea near March.

Police and fire-fighters had desperately entered the freezing water to pull the youngster from the vehicle, and paramedics battled on the roadside to resuscitate her, but she died later in hospital.

Her father Andrew said: “We are deeply upset following the death of our daughter and it will take a long time coming to terms with what happened.

“Charlotte meant the world to us and we will miss her greatly. I would like to thank everybody at the scene who tried to help.

“I would also now request that our privacy is respected and we are left alone to grieve.”

The youngster was a pupil at the Townley Primary School, Christchurch, Head teacher Robert Glozier said: "Charlotte was a very able, talented and popular member of the school. She was always smiling and enjoyed school life to the full. She was a gifted dancer and a keen mathematician. Her art work was delightful and she loved reading books.

“She will be missed by everyone at the school.”

Pupils at the school were told of her death by the head teacher who visited each class this morning.

A spokesman at Cambridgeshire County Council said that support was in place for any child or member of staff, who needed it.

Charlotte had been a member of the kids’ club at Christchurch in the village of Christchurch.

The Rev Kevin Fitzgibbon, who also serves at St Mary, Church, Welney, said: “This will be a tragedy for the whole community. It is a very close knit village.”

Further details of the accident have been realised and police said the pair had been travelling in a Citroen Picasso.

Charlotte’s 43-year-old mother had been driving the car and was taken to the Peterborough District Hospital with minor injuries.

Police said it is thought that another vehicle was travelling in the opposite direction at the time of the accident.

Emma Cousins, from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said when fire-fighters arrived they discovered the car was completely submerged in the water and police were already there.

She said: “The woman driver had managed to escape from the car and water, but a second person was trapped in the back seat. Crews assisted the officers to pull the car to the side of the bank using ropes secured to the car and the front of the fire engine.

“Once the car was pulled to the bank and partially out of the water, the specialist water rescue crews from Huntingdon and Dogsthorpe were able to enter the water and complete the final stage of the rescue.”

Station manager Steve Robinson, added: “This was a traumatic incident for everyone involved and our thoughts are with the family.”

More than 26 fire-fighters from March, Huntingdon and Dogsthorpe were sent to the incident, along with ambulance crews, and two doctors.

PC Steve Edwards, collision investigator, said: "I would like to speak to anyone who saw what happened and anyone driving along that stretch of road at that time.”

The B1098 road runs along the bank of the Sixteen Foot Drain, which stretches from Three Holes, near Upwell, to Chatteris, in Cambridgeshire.

There have been a number of deaths on its tributary, the Forty Foot in recent years, where cars have left the road and plunged into the water.

Each accident has sparked calls for safety barriers to be erected alongside roads which run along the fen drains.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Edwards in the Roads Policing Unit on 0845 456 4564.

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