Memorial bench for man who died in lake tragedy

REMEMBERED Simon Burgess
REMEMBERED Simon Burgess
Sir Vince Cable is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Sir Vince Cable is new Liberal Democrats leader

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FRIENDS of a man who was found floating face down in a lake have raised enough money for a memorial in the park where he died.

Simon Burgess was found in the lake at Walpole Park in Gosport earlier this year.

The 41-year-old would visit the lake every day to feet the swans and pigeons there.

Friends and former colleagues decided to raise money to put a bench at his favourite spot.

After months of fundraising, high street shops have gathered more than £1,000 for the bench and a plaque in his honour.

Lynne Lowman, 37, from the 147 Snooker Club, said: ‘I think it’s lovely and I think it’s great so many people felt that strongly about him.

‘We wanted to get together and do something in his memory because he was such a lovely guy.

‘It just goes to show there is a community spirit in Gosport still.

‘I’m surprised at how much we have managed to raise but a lot of people knew him.

‘He was a very caring person and we felt quite strongly about the whole thing and wanted to do something for him.’

A number of high street shops have joined forces to raise money for the fund.

The 147 Snooker Club held a charity snooker night to raise money and many shops have been taking donations from customers.

The snooker evening raised almost £650 from snooker teams who paid to take part in the tournament.

The Cottage Loaf bakery and the Rose Road Association shop have raised around £300 each.

Mr Burgess was a regular volunteer at the Rose Road shop.

He died after being seen floating face-down in Walpole Park lake on March 10.

His death caused controversy after the first firefighters on the scene did not enter the water and instead waited for a specialist unit to arrive from Fareham.

A memorial bench engraved with his name would cost almost £1,000.

Assistant manager at the Rose Road shop, Trina Horey, said: ‘We are hoping to get the bench all sorted for some time around August.

‘We would like to hold a ceremony there at the same time. It would be a really fitting tribute to him.’