Death of Clayhall golfer, 78, killed during trip to Norfolk ‘highlights real dangers’

Edward McDermott died at Thetford Golf Club. Picture: Supplied

Edward McDermott died at Thetford Golf Club. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

The dangers of roads which intersect golf courses have been highlighted by the family of a man fatally struck by a van.

Edward McDermott, 78, was killed on February 26 last year while attempting to cross the B1107 Brandon Road between the fifth and sixth holes at Thetford Golf Club.

The retired shopkeeper, who lived in Clayhall, was part of a 70-strong group from Chigwell Golf Society who were visiting.

An inquest yesterday concluded that his death was an accident.

Nicholas Beacham, who was driving the Mercedes Vito van that struck Mr McDermott, said that his vehicle was travelling at 50mph in the 60mph limit when he became aware of a pedestrian.

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He said that he only had three or four seconds to react, braked, and had not seen Mr McDermott sooner as an oncoming car had blocked his view.

It was a drizzly day and Mr McDermott was wearing dark clothing against a dark background, he added.

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Pc Graham Brooks said there were signs on the road warning of hidden dips and pedestrians crossing, and the word “slow” was painted on the road.

There were also warning signs to golfers ahead of the crossing.

He added that there were no defects with the van that would have contributed to the crash.

Assistant coroner Nicholas Holroyd said Mr McDermott “clearly did not see the oncoming Mercedes van”.

The family’s solicitor, Paul Kitson, of Slater and Gordon, said: “This devastating incident highlights the very real dangers faced by players who are expected to cross main roads which intersect golf courses.

“Mr McDermott’s death should serve as a wake-up call to authorities to look again at the safety measures in place on similar sites up and down the country.

“It is important that where appropriate traffic calming measures, improved warning signs for motorists and any other necessary steps are taken to try to prevent another similar tragedy.”

Malcolm Grubb, manager of Thetford Golf Club, said the club had stepped up calls to reduce the speed limit on the road following the tragedy.

He added that it was the first such incident in the club’s 103-year history and his thoughts were with the family.

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