‘Ditches not cleared’ claim at scene of Horam crash

Flooding on the road where there was a fatal crash
Flooding on the road where there was a fatal crash

The road where young Uckfield butcher Daniel Osborne met his death was ‘sheet ice’ according to a local resident.

Sidney Chambers from Furnace Lane told the Express: “Ditches in Furnace Lane and Tanyard Hill have not been touched for at least three years. The hill where Dan Osborne perished was a sheet of ice. Water froze and more water ran over the top of it and it also froze. When I passed through at middday the ice was still there.”

He went on: “When I came in 1998 the ditches along the road were maintained every year at the same time by an elderly gentleman called Jock. He cleared ditches slowly and methodically and for the following year they did their job.”

Mr Chambers explained when the job was put out to tender, operators didn’t stay long enough to see the job was done properly and the result was awful. “When it froze it was a skating rink.”

Meanwhile the Osborne family is coming to terms with its loss. This is the second tragedy the family has faced. In 2013 Daniel’s wife Kayleigh’s sister, Jessica Christie-Sturges. died in a head-on collision in Cross-in-Hand with Heathfield opera star Robert Poulton, who also died.

Kayleigh’s mother Kimberley posted on Facebook: “As a family our lives were shattered when Kayleigh’s only sister Jess was killed in a car crash just a couple of miles from where we live. Then on August 30, 2013 Dan and Kayleigh tied the knot and got married. As a family we all smiled and we were happy. On November 30 a little miracle was born, Sophie Jessica Osborne. We walked arund with the bigggest smiles on our faces. Jess had sent a little miracle and once again I could see a future. On Monday, December 29 the phone call every parent dreads. A daughter screaming down the phone that our precious Dan was dead.”

Kimberley said an account has been set for Sophie’s future where people can mark their donations ‘Sophie’s Trust’ and send to Woodwind House, 8 Wayside Walk, Heathfield, TN21 0XW.

Kayleigh told the Express: “We are continuing to run the business as well as we can - it was Dan’s dream and it is our intention to make it successful. We urge all our old friends and customers to please call in and see us.”

In the meantime Dan’s private funeral will be held at Eastbourne Crematorium at 2.30pm on Wednesday, January 21. It is followed at 4.30pm by a celebration of his life at Blackstock Farm, Hellingly. Kayleigh said: “This is open to all and we hope all our wonderful friends will come.”