Family of Hanham tandem crash victims appeal to mourners to give money for IVF - not flowers
THE family of the young couple killed in a crash while riding their tandem bicycle in Hanham have urged mourners to donate money to help couples seeking IVF treatment rather than to pay their respects with flowers.
The appeal was made yesterday as friends and family of Ross and Clare Simons gathered together at 3.59pm – exactly a week after the couple from Fishponds were killed.
They had desperately wanted children, and had recently been given the go-ahead to start IVF treatment, friends confirmed.
Speaking after a minute's silence to mark a week since the tragic incident on Lower Hanham Road, Ross's father Edwin asked mourners to give to IVF charities to "help other couples have the babies that we wanted our child to have".
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Around 300 people gathered to remember and celebrate the couple's lives as dusk settled.
The minute's silence, held on the spot where the couple were struck by a car on their new tandem, ended with a toast.
Those gathered left messages on cans of lager and cider they raised in memory of Ross, 34, and Clare, 30.
Among the hundreds of messages left on cans of Fosters and Blackthorn – Ross and Clare's favourite drinks – was one message which simply read: "A couple that will always be together, never forgotten."
Another read: "Together forever, God bless you both."
Rev Peter Cook, from Hanham Baptist Church, told the mourners: "This is a time when a terrible accident happened and our prayers will be with the family.
"It is now one minute to four. We are going to keep a minute's silence to remember Ross and Clare."
The silence was impeccably observed with the crowd bowing their heads in respect, moving only to wipe tears from their eyes.
Police had closed the section of road where an ever-growing tribute of flowers and messages had been laid. After the silence, Mr Cook continued to reflect on the incident, which he said "we just don't understand".
He added: "It's terrible, it's all wrong."
He asked those assembled to "cherish the memories" of Ross and Clare.
A toast to their lives was raised by Ross's father. Cans were opened, smiles broke out and friends and family joined in to say "cheers".
As messages were written on cards provided to stick on to the cans, Mr Simons spoke of the support the family had received since last week.
He said: "Most of all we want to thank the family and friends who help us get through it."
He confirmed that the funeral will be held on Friday, February 15, at Westerleigh Crematorium, at 11am.
He said: "We ask all who attend not to bring flowers. We would like people to donate to a Bristol IVF charity to help other couples to have the babies that we wanted our child to have."
Ross's sister Kelly Woodruff added: "Both families are sure that's what Ross and Clare would want.
"We also want no black to be worn at the funeral and want to see everyone in bright colours because Ross and Clare were both colourful people."
Ross, who worked for his father's property rental company, and Clare, who worked for a fashion store in Cabot Circus, had married about 18 months ago after meeting in 2001.
The couple had bought their tandem shortly before Christmas because it was something they had always wanted.
They lived in Hillfields, Fishponds, and were on their way to have tea with Ross's sister Kelly when the accident happened.
Ross attended Cadbury Heath primary school before going on to The Grange School at Warmley, while Clare went to Warmley C of E primary and Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldbury Common.
The two were struck by a Citroen Picasso car.
Ross and Clare died from their injuries at the scene.
On the same evening a 38-year-old man handed himself in to police and was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
A 35-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, but was later released on bail.
Nicholas Lovell, 38, was charged and appeared before North Avon Magistrates' Court on Wednesday accused of causing the deaths.
Lovell, of West Street, Oldland Common, is accused of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop after an accident.
Lovell was remanded in custody to appear before Bristol Crown Court on February 21 for a preliminary hearing via video link.
Police are still asking for witnesses to the incident to come forward.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.