The family of a ‘loving son’ and a ‘devoted grandfather’ who died following a tragic incident at Barns Green level crossing in Horsham have paid tribute to them.
William Hallett, 15, and his grandfather Barry Hearnshaw, 72, died after a car and a train collided at the crossing in Emms Lane at around 8.40am on Saturday morning (February 17).
In a statement issued to British Transport Police (BTP) William’s family said: “Will was a loving son, brother and grandson.
“He was handsome, intelligent and extremely active. He was a talented footballer and idealised Chelsea FC. He was often found kicking a ball about on our village green and played locally for Horsham Sparrows.
“One thing this tragedy has proved to us is how popular and loved he was within our beautiful village of Barns Green and at Tanbridge House School.
“He was an intelligent, high grade achiever, who aspired to be an airline pilot.
“We are utterly devastated by this tragic accident that has robbed us of our gorgeous, lovable and cheeky son. It has also deprived his younger brother, Henry of a fantastic role model, although we all have many fantastic memories which we will hold onto dearly. It has left an immense hole in our world, which can never be filled.
“Finally we wish to thank our family, friends and local community for their continued support through this extremely heart-breaking and challenging time.”
The family also paid tribute to Barry Hearnshaw.
In a statement to BTP, Barry’s family said: “We are all struggling to come to terms with the loss of our devoted husband, father and grandfather.
“He was a man who loved his family dearly and also gave so much to so many people. We know his passing will be a great loss.
“Until his retirement he worked in special education, and it was education that was always his passion. He devoted his life to improving the lives of so many through his work and before his retirement he fulfilled his dream of becoming headmaster.
“Schools that benefited from his talents and enthusiasm were Cordeaux High School and Deighton Close School in Louth, Lincolnshire, and Muntham House School in Barns Green, West Sussex.
“He carried on working in education after his retirement, helping a number of schools to improve.
“He also devoted much of his time to charity and was the driving force behind the Henry Cooper Charity Golf Masters which raised considerable funds in partnership with The West Sussex County Times for a number of charities.
“He was also involved in creating the Barns Green Half Marathon which has grown to be a major annual event that raises so much money for charity.
“His contribution to the community and his family was immeasurable and we will all miss him dearly.”