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Memory walk for ‘great characters’

Clifford Oakes (right) and other fundraisers during their memory walk around Didcot for Rhys Roberts and Jack Varney who were killed in a car accident

Clifford Oakes (right) and other fundraisers during their memory walk around Didcot for Rhys Roberts and Jack Varney who were killed in a car accident

First published in Didcot Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

PEOPLE from across Didcot came together in memory of two young men who died in a car crash earlier this summer.

Jack Varney and Rhys Roberts died in the crash on the A4130 at Hadden Hill in the early hours of Monday, May 28.

Their Peugeot 306 was travelling from Wallingford to Didcot when it hit a wall at the side of the road and burst into flames.

On Saturday a group of their friends and family walked around Didcot to pay tribute to Mr Roberts, 21, of St Anne’s Court, and Mr Varney, 19, of Station Road.

It was organised by binman Clifford Oakes who had worked with Mr Roberts and was a close friend of Mr Varney’s family.

He said: “We had some good support and a good turnout. I would say we had about 40 people.

“I was a personal friend of Rhys and I know Jack’s parents as well.”

He described them as “great characters”.

Mr Oakes is well known in the town for leading the fundraising group the Thong Rangers, but he said this event was nothing to do with the charitable group.

As they walked around Didcot they wore T-shirts with photos of Mr Varney and Mr Roberts on them.

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The walkers also collected donations for the families of the two men.

Mr Oakes said: “Everyone was getting in touch with me because they wanted to do something in memory of them but didn’t know how to go about it.

“We had the T-shirts on and a lot of people have heard about what happened. They were only too glad to give.”

Mr Oakes, who lives in Kynaston Road, does not yet know how much had been raised by the event.

He believes a trust fund has been set up for Lily-Mae, Mr Varney’s daughter and that Mr Roberts’s family may spent the money on a headstone.

The walk began at Didcot Town FC and followed a 4.5-mile route around the town, taking in the Ladygrove pub, Fleet Meadow, Broadway and the railway station.

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