Memorial bench for man who died in lake tragedy

REMEMBERED Simon Burgess
REMEMBERED Simon Burgess
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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.’