Firstly, we would like to thank everyone for all the support and good wishes over the last couple of weeks. We are glad that the inquest is now finally over; we know the sequence of events that led to Russell’s death and for those of you that may not have heard, the jury agreed unanimously on a verdict of accidental death. Everything has now been passed on to the Health and Safety Executive for them to continue to look into the safety aspects of what happened.


It is the safety of operations such as this, which has made us think. Several people who worked for other contractors on the site were called as witnesses; each of them made comments about the decision to transport the trees in that particular way. None of them would have chosen that method; each person could describe an alternative way of moving the trees which they believed to be safer, they also said that this method was a fairly common one for moving large trees. But does that make it safe?


Each one of us has an expectation of being able to go to work in the morning and return home safely later in the day. Sadly, on some occasions this does not happen. Sometimes we have no control over these events; sometimes we do. Would you drive on the motorway each morning, or fly to your holiday destination if there was a high chance that you would not survive? Possibly not. I know I would try to choose the safest option. During the inquest, it was generally agreed that the trees were being transported in an unsafe manner. But not one person actually pointed this out at the time. OK, so maybe it’s not protocol to interfere with another contractor’s decisions; and let’s face it, we’ve all at one time or another seen something that looks a bit “not quite right” and just carried on without saying anything. But what if you found out later that the “not quite right” something had resulted in someone’s death, how would you feel? I like to think that now I would be brave enough to say something, just in case. It is a brave thing to do, but there are some very courageous people out there – just this week there has been the news of the family who prevented a relative from going to fight in Syria; possibly also preventing the deaths of many more innocent people. It can be done.

So, basically, what I am getting at is that if the lessons we have learned from Russell’s death can prevent others needlessly losing their lives, then we can at least get something positive from this. And if that means stepping out of your comfort zone and highlighting a potential risk or danger, THEN DO IT! Because every single one of us would have been grateful if someone had done that for Russell.

We have to look to the future. By doing this, we can all help him to LIVE FOREVER.

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