Mother tells of relief at new crossing where her son was hit in Petworth

A Midhurst mother has spoken of her delight at the news that a new safe crossing would be created in Petworth, where her son was involved in a collision.
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William Capon, then aged 13 and living in Petworth, was on his way home from school in 2016 when a car overtook his school bus before stopping on William’s foot.

His mother, Lani Capon, said: “It was about 2016 and it was the Festival of Speed.

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“My son who was 13 at the time attended Midhurst Rother College and as he got off the bus, the bus stopped and he got off with four friends.

William Capon during his time at Southampton General HospitalWilliam Capon during his time at Southampton General Hospital
William Capon during his time at Southampton General Hospital

“They crossed in front of the bus and a lady overtook the bus and literally ran into him. She actually parked on his foot.

“It was a real struggle and because it was Festival of Speed we had to wait two-and-a-half hours for an ambulance.

“It came from somewhere north of Guildford because all other ambulances were either at Festival of Speed or dealing with other emergencies.

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“His foot was crushed. It was a struggle and they really did struggle saving his foot.

“There was a very good chance they would have to remove his foot but his foot was elevated to help with circulation.

“On the Saturday he was rushed down to Southampton General Hospital, they were fantastic down there and I couldn’t praise them enough.

“He is kind of bionic now. His foot is more metal than bone.”

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A new ‘puffin’ pedestrian crossing is being built on the corner of Downview Road.

The scheme, which began on Tuesday this week, is expected to cost about £110,000 and was requested by Petworth Town Council under a community highways application to West Sussex County Council.

The county council has confirmed the road will remain open while the works take place.

It is expected to be complete on April 8.

Lani added: “I grew up in Petworth so I regularly crossed the road even before the crossing was put in.

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“You take your life in your hands and it was always a really risky place to cross.”

Asked if she was pleased to see improvements were being made, Lani added: “Yes, definitely. It will just make it much more of an improvement and will also help with parking.

“People were not happy to park at the Sylvia Beaufoy Centre and walk up but I think it is going to make life so much safer for students who still get dropped off there.

“It will just be so much safer.”

Five years on and William still lives with the impact of his injuries but Lani said, on the whole, he is ‘doing okay’.

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Lani said: “He gets a lot of pain in it but it is as good as it is ever going to be.

“He walks on it quite well and he is coping quite well.

“He used to like riding his bike a lot but after [the collision] he never wanted to do anything.

“He wasted that summer just being in and recuperating.

“He really struggled that summer because it was so warm and he couldn’t do anything.

“He couldn’t even go into the pool.”

West Sussex County Council has said the puffin crossing will feature red blister paving for visually impaired pedestrians, road resurfacing and new road markings.

Above ground detectors will help with the timing of the signals and LED lamps improve visibility, but help keep energy and maintenance costs down.”