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Family anguish over floral tributes row.

Byline: Mike Morgan Reporter mike.morgan@eveninggazette.co.uk

A FAMILY has told of its heartache after a row broke out over the placing of floral tributes at the spot where a 16-year-old girl died in a road accident.

Rebecca Catron was killed instantly when she was hit by a car while walking home on the A174 between Saltburn and Brotton on October 23, 1991.

Every year since, the family has put flowers, and lately silk floral tributes, at the accident site on the anniversary of Rebecca's death and also on her birthday.

But grieving relatives say they have learned Redcar and Cleveland Council wanted the floral tributes to stop.

However the authority has now pledged it won't remove memorials without the family's consent.

Angry brother Chris Catron said an email had been sent to independent Loftus councillor Mary Lanigan from a council officer asking the family to stop floral tributes altogether due to health and safety reasons.

He said: "We're disgusted and believe the council could even impose a fine for littering. It's appalling and many other people will be affected similarly. No one has ever complained to us in any way."

Mr Catron, 39, of Dam Street, Loftus, said: "Beccy was a very bright and lovely, bubbly girl, who had lots of friends.

"People all over Teesside and Britain leave floral roadside tributes like this and no one objects." The family also raised concerns that potential action over tributes to accident victims could apply to any other similar tributes throughout the borough.

Mum Janet Catron, 63, of Ash Grove, Loftus, said: "I'm so upset about this. Beccy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and we've laid tributes at the site for 22 years. Some councillors are offering a bench with a nameplate instead, but I want to continue putting flowers there myself, as do the rest of the family.

"There's no reason why we can't - we always clear them away afterwards.

This decision is heartbreaking.

It's even more upsetting coming on the run-up to the anniversary. We're reliving everything."

Cllr Lanigan, a family friend, said: "This is a very sensitive issue and I don't see why flowers should be removed."

Christopher Massey, Cabinet member for environment and rural affairs, said: "The council has no policy on floral tributes by roadsides and no plans to remove any flowers.

"However, in this instance we're concerned the specific location is not ideal in terms of road safety.

"We're talking to the family about the possibility of placing a permanent tribute on the opposite side of the road, in the form of a memorial bench and plaque."

He apologised for any distress caused, but assured the family now "we'll not remove any floral tributes without their consent".

CAPTION(S):

Chris Catron and mum Janet with floral tributes beside the A174 at the spot where Rebecca, inset top, was killed in 1991 when she was just 16 KATIE LUNN
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2013
Words:490
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