Memorial fund for man killed in lake tragedy

TRIBUTE Simon Burgess pictured feeding swans in Walpole Park in Gosport
TRIBUTE Simon Burgess pictured feeding swans in Walpole Park in Gosport

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FRIENDS of a man who was found floating face-down in a lake are raising money for a memorial in the park where he died.

Simon Burgess was found floating in the water at Walpole Park in Gosport on March 10.

The 41-year-old was known to visit the lake daily to feed the swans.

Now his friends and former colleagues want to pay tribute to the man by putting a bench at his favourite spot.

A number of High Street shops in Gosport have joined forces to start a memorial fund.

Dave Lowman, who runs the 147 Snooker Club, said: ‘Simon was a great friend of mine.

‘He used to help me a lot at the club so we wanted to try and get a bench put down at the park for him.

‘My wife and I sat down and cried our eyes out when we heard what happened. Why did nobody go in to get him?

‘If Simon was a bystander down there he would have been the first person who would have gone in the water.’

Mr Lowman is hosting a charity snooker night on April 28 to raise funds for the bench. Meanwhile, customers at The Cottage Loaf bakery have raised around £100 for the fund.

Bakery worker Rose Monan said: ‘He was a lovely person and his death was tragic.

‘Going down to the lake and feeding the swans there was his life.

‘He used to come in here most days to buy bread for them. A lot of people knew him.’

A memorial bench engraved with Mr Burgess’ name would cost almost £1,000.

Meanwhile there is mounting pressure for a public inquiry into his death.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has written to the police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

And the leader of Gosport Borough Council Mark Hook met the two authorities last week.

Royston Smith – chairman of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority – told The News it will hold a ‘debrief’ into Mr Burgess’ death.

But the findings are unlikely to be made public.

Cllr Smith said: ‘I think people want to see procedure that should have been followed was followed. As far as I’m aware, it was.’