Mourners to meet at ‘mushroom’ on crash anniversary

TRIBUTE People will gather at the 'mushroom' in Paulsgrove a year after the deaths of four men killed in a car crash in Wales
TRIBUTE People will gather at the 'mushroom' in Paulsgrove a year after the deaths of four men killed in a car crash in Wales
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MOURNERS will gather at a makeshift memorial to pay tribute to four men who died in a car crash a year ago.

More than 100 people are expected to congregate to pay their respects to Danny Philbrow, 43, Tommy Elmes, 16, Tommy Marsh, 17, and Lewis Mackley, 18, on the first anniversary of their deaths.

Friends and relatives will gather at the brightly coloured metal dome – known as the ‘mushroom’ – on Hempsted Green, off Hempsted Road in the heart of the tight-knit Paulsgrove community tomorrow.

Candles are due to be lit and Tommy Elmes’ nine-year-old brother Danny is to let off balloons.

The tributes will be made one year after the crash that claimed the lives of Mr Philbrow and Mr Elmes, from Paulsgrove, Mr Marsh, from Port Solent, and Mr Mackley, from Drayton. The four had travelled to Wales to trade gold and jewellery.

Among those paying their respects will be Tommy Elmes’ mum Celia, 38, who was also Danny Philbrow’s partner.

She said: ‘I feel awful. It’s hard but I’ve got to carry on. My boy was the youngest. He was 16. He only wanted to go away to earn himself a bit of money.

‘Danny was my boyfriend as well. We’d been together for about four years. Danny was such a jokey man. We could have a laugh together. Tommy used to love his football. He was football-mad. I still miss them. I will never get over it.’

The group had been staying in a caravan at Trecco Bay Holiday Park in Porthcawl, Wales, when the tragedy happened.

After a successful day’s trading they decided to finish work early on the day of the crash.

But their trip turned to tragedy when Mr Philbrow, Mr Elmes, Mr Marsh and driver Mr Mackley were killed after the silver Vauxhall Vectra they were travelling in hit a tree near Porthcawl shortly before midnight on April 15 last year.

An inquest in Wales heard that when police arrived, the car was in two pieces 82ft apart. Passenger Louis Stock was the sole survivor.

Peter Maddox, Bridgend and South Glamorgan coroner, told inquests into the four men’s deaths the cause of the crash may never be known.

He recorded verdicts of accidental death.

Community devastated by deaths

PAULSGROVE was overwhelmed with a public outpouring of grief following the crash that claimed the four friends’ lives.

The community was devastated by the deaths of Danny Philbrow, 43, Tommy Elmes, 16, Lewis Mackley, 18, and Tommy Marsh, 17, following the horrific car crash in Porthcawl, Wales, on April 15 last year.

Hundreds of tributes, including candles, poems and flowers were left at the brightly coloured ‘mushroom’ metal dome on Hempsted Green in the heart of Paulsgrove in their memories.

About 200 people took part in a 10-mile walk from Paulsgrove to Fratton Park and back to raise more than £2,000 for a memorial bench with the names of the four men on, which was later placed on the green.

A raffle was also held at King Richard School in Allaway Avenue, Paulsgrove, to raise money.

And some people also took part in a cruise to Funtington in West Sussex in their memories.