“Absolutely disgusting”: family of crash fatality Lewis Turner angry as council remove memorial items

Lewis's brother says the removal has caused the family great upset.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:50 pm

The family of a Chorley man who died after a collision between his moped and a car in August say they are furious as council officials have removed memorial items.

20 year old Lewis Turner died following a road collision at the Wham Lane junction in New Longton on August 21, and a memorial has since formed on the corner of the road where the incident happened.

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Since the removal of the memorial items on Friday, family, friends and members of the public have contributed new items to the site of the incident.

However last week the family were told by their Family Liaison Officer that South Ribble Council were removing the memorial items, which mainly included flowers, candles and balloons, following complaints.

Lewis's brother, Jordan Turner, 26 said: “It's been a place that friends and family have been able to visit and just feel close to him but, unfortunately, South Ribble Council had complaints from local residents saying that the candles were a risk to life and could hurt somebody, which is absolutely obscene, and basically, the residents in a nutshell said that the area didn't look good, it was messy. It wasn't, we tidied it up every week, they just don’t want it there, but the council supported them, and within 24 hours, had it all removed, and made it clear nothing else could be put there."

Jordan, who says the council has failed to contact them once about the issue, added: "It’s insensitive, it's caused a family that are already going through so much, even more pain. We thought that of all people the council would understand, they've been aware of the story. We were absolutely disgusted by it, and it wasn't just us, the community of Chorley were disgusted by it. When I put this into Facebook, the amount of attention it received and the amount of disgust people had just made me feel as though I'm not going crazy, this isn't normal.”

Although the items, many of which were very sentimental, were cleared on Friday, and a sign was put up informing the public that they will be returned to the family, this has yet to happen.

Lewis Turner with his older brother Jordan.

Jordan said: “They took it all away and obviously we didn't have access to it, but nothing's been returned, and I've still not been contacted by anyone from the council in regards to where I can collect it from, or who's got it.”

As well as being generally disappointed with the council's lack of communication, Jordan also says the council needs to improve the state of the road on which the fatal accident happened, explaining that one of the road’s stop signs is faded away, one is covered by a bush, and another faces the wrong direction.

He said: “If anything, the council, before they start concentrating on a memorial where a young man died, should instead start paying attention to the road, and thinking of ways to improve that junction to prevent this from happening again.

"For the council to have a junction in use that has caused somebody to die, that's in such bad condition already, and then to remove the flowers of the person who's died there, it’s just unbelievable.”

Jordan says the removed items have not been returned to them, nor do they know where they are.

Jordan adds that the family themselves have ordered a waterproof stop sign for the junction which they plan to put up this week; it says look left, look right, think bike, with a picture of Lewis, in the hope that something similar won't happen again.

Jordan said: "I do wonder what reaction that's going to have from the council because if that's removed as well, then, what can we do? We're left with nothing. If they hadn't done this, within a few weeks, this would have all slowed down anyway, because we need to move on, but because of what they've done, it’s made us not want to give up on that site even more.

“We're still just trying to comprehend it and things like going up there and putting flowers down, planning memorial benches, have occupied us and helped us through it, but there comes a time where you feel as though everyone's forgetting and it starts to become a little bit more real and that's that's what this did, it took away something that was helping us grieve.

"The only way the council could make up for this is by offering something permanent, whether it's a plaque, whether it's a bench, anything whatsoever, that would be nice of them."

Some of the original sentimental items that were removed by the council.

South Ribble Council have been approached for comment.

Lewis's family and friends next to his memorial.
The site of the crash, one stop sign is covered in bushes, the other is faded.
Jordan hopes the council will offer a more permanent tribute.