Tributes pour in for gentle’ guy

THE Union flag will be draped over the coffin of Karl Clarke, who died aged 23 as he cycled to work last week. There will also be a minute s silence held for him at Cambridge United Football Ground before the game with Southport on Saturday, February 18.

THE Union flag will be draped over the coffin of Karl Clarke, who died aged 23 as he cycled to work last week.

There will also be a minute's silence held for him at Cambridge United Football Ground before the game with Southport on Saturday, February 18.

Karl, from River Road, Eaton Ford, had completed his basic training with The Royal Engineers as an electrical and mechanical engineer. He was also a keen United fan and worked at the ground, officially as a steward and in the club shop as a volunteer.

He had left the Army and was killed on his way to The Crown Inn in Eaton Socon, where he was an apprentice chef.


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Karl's father, Stephen, 42, described his son as "such a gentle person" who had finally found a career he liked after trying out several different jobs. Mr Clarke said: "He was really caring. When his great-grandmother was in her 90s, Karl used to go with his grandmother to visit her and do her shopping. Not many young lads would enjoy doing that, but he did."

General manager at The Crown Inn, Kevin Connick, said: "Karl was a nice guy, certainly very keen and a pleasant young lad. We were hoping for good things from him. We were very positive about his future here and hoped he would stay long term."

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He added: "We are all in shock. He had only worked here a few weeks but he fitted in very well."

Mark Duke, acting principal at St Neots Community College, said Karl was "a cheerful, cheeky chappy."

Mr Duke said: "He was popular with the rest of his tutor group mainly because of his sense of humour. He was always keen to do as well as he possibly could.

All who knew him always enjoyed his company and he will be missed by many."

Friends of Karl's drove in a tribute parade around the streets near his home on Sunday and laid flowers in his memory.

Mr Clarke said Karl was cycling to work because his car had been vandalised. Only moments before the accident, his sister, Hayley, 18, and boyfriend Michael, saw Karl as they drove past him going in the opposite direction.

The couple were driving from Waresley, where Hayley lives, and saw Karl on the B1046 Potton Road, close to the junction with Drewells Lane, which leads to St Neots Leisure Centre and Abbotsley Golf Club.

Just seconds later, just after 6pm on Monday, January 30, there was a collision between Karl's bike and a Vauxhall Astra. The car driver and passenger, aged 43 and 23, both men from St Neots, were uninjured.

As Hayley returned to Waresley, she was caught up in the traffic queue after the accident and as she wound down her window to speak to a police officer, she realised that her brother had been killed.

Karl's mother, Karen, lives in Corby. After living with his grandparents, Margaret and Terry Clarke, in St Neots, Karl had started his new job and moved back in with his father and stepmother, Penny.

As well as Hayley, Karl leaves his sister, Rachel, 21, brother Jamie, 15 and step-sister Kellie, 16. He has two half-brothers, Joshua and Reuben, and maternal grandparents, Heather and John Masters.

Karl's funeral will be on Friday at St Mary's Church in Eaton Socon. There will be a reception for family and friends at The Crown Inn on the Great North Road, Eaton Socon.

Flowers should be sent to the Anglia Co-operative Funeral Directors in St Neots.

* Police are appealing for witnesses to the collision. Contact Pc Peter Bimmson at Cambridgeshire Police on 0845 4564564 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.

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