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Residents devastated by deaths at accident blackspot
WHEN Jack Varney and Rhys Roberts were killed at an accident blackspot, the town of Didcot was devastated.
Now people in the community will gather for a charity walk in memory of the two young men who died in the car crash on the A4130 at Hadden Hill on May 28.
Donations will be taken for the families of Mr Roberts, 21, of St Anne’s Court, Didcot, and father-of-one Mr Varney, 19, of the town’s Station Road.
It is being organised by binman Clifford Oakes, 49, from Kynaston Road, Didcot, who worked with Mr Roberts and is a close friend of the family of Mr Varney, an electrician.
Father-of-two Mr Oakes, who leads the Thong Rangers charity group, said: “After the funerals, wakes were held at the Marlborough Club and they were packed with family and friends.
“The community of Didcot wanted to do something for the two bereaved families but they didn’t know how to go about it.
“Through the Thong Rangers group I have organised fundraisers for children and families over the years, so I decided to organise this day, which will feature a walk in memory of Jack and Rhys. I have asked both families for permission to stage the walk and they thought it was a good idea. I hope they will be both be there on the day.
“The crash shocked the whole community and this will give people the chance to rally round.
“The walk will be an opportunity to remember these two young men exactly how they were – they were great characters.
“People can register from 10am to take part and I’m hoping hundreds will turn up.”
Mr Oakes said some people taking part in the walk would wear T-shirts featuring photos of Mr Roberts and Mr Varney.
He added: “I want to make it clear that this is not actually a Thong Rangers event, but I am organising it because I am friends with the two families.
“We will shake buckets on the walk and the proceeds from the day will be split between the two families.
“I understand that the Varney family has set up a trust fund for Jack’s little girl Lily-Mae, and Rhys’s family could use the money they get for Rhys’s headstone.”
The route will take in the Ladygrove pub, Cow Lane Bridge, Fleet Meadow, Broadway, Foxhall Road, and the railway station.
The memory walk will start at Didcot Town FC at 10am on Saturday on the Ladygrove estate and will follow a 4.5-mile route around the town.