13 Sep 2013

My Last Memory of Tanya

The last time I saw my lovely girl she took me to the Gatwick bus in Brighton, and as it pulled out of the bus station, she rode along behind the bus, waving one red-gloved hand, the other being on the handlebar. She was smiling and making faces and blowing kisses. My face was pressed against the back window of the bus, trying to get closer to her.

She was wearing a silver bike helmet and her beautiful long red hair streamed in the wind. She rode along until we got to the motorway where bicycles weren't allowed. I saw her turn off at the roundabout and go back towards Brighton. I watched until she disappeared into the traffic. I was never to see her alive again.

When she died, I was positive that never again could I experience joy: I would be content to simply find some release from anguish. So the last years have been spent in search for spiritual meaning. At the loss of this most beloved child, the notion that "at the heart of creation lies a good intent, a purpose from which we come, by which we live our fullest and to which we return, " the idea that there was a compassionate Creator of the Universe, vanished.

It is a beautiful and comforting belief. But why then is there so much suffering in the world? All the joy in my life seeped away, like air from a balloon. The energy which comes from love slipped away too, on silent feet into the dark night.

That love that I had for her, and the sense of purpose that I had, just to be her mother, evaporated. She was no longer there with Kim in her blue house, high on the hill above Brighton, looking over the English Channel.

When I go there, I stand at the window, looking over the garden to the grey sea. There is an apple tree under which I planted bluebells, and a bird feeder. It is a holy place. But she is not there.

Diana Morris
September 2013
smallislandgraphics (at) yahoo.com

12 Sep 2013

Centre for Corporate Accountability - death record

Tanya Bocking
Date of death
Local Authority
Immediate Employer
Tanya Bocking
10 December 2003

Adventure Unlimited
Tanya, an adventure instructor and operations director of Adventure Unlimited, was preparing to give a zip wire lesson to a disabled man with a cerebral palsy sufferer at Blackland Farm activity centre in East Grinstead.
The disabled man's carer raised the alarm when she arrived on the scene and found Tanya strangled by her helmet strap on the 45ft long slide. A second harness, which would usually have been attached to a zip wire, was on the ground beneath her.
Staff could not resuscitate Ms Bocking, and she was pronounced dead on arrival at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
The inquest was held at East Sussex Coroner’s Court in February 2005 and returned a verdict of Misadventure. Pathologist Andrew Rainey said the cause of death was given as asphyxiation due to ligature strangulation.
Coroner Alan Craze said, 'Because of her experience I do not believe on the balance of probability she would have deliberately set off down the zip wire with the karabina in the position where it was found, suspended by the top (chest) harness alone. The dangers are obvious and it would be at the very best an uncomfortable ride. Whatever went wrong went wrong up on the (zip wire) platform... that is where she got in trouble. Whether she attempted to get out of the situation and by accident put her foot in the wrong place and then fell off I don't know but I am reasonably satisfied she did step off by accident.'
Speaking after the hearing, Tanya's brother Nat Bocking called for tighter safety measures at outdoor centres to prevent similar accidents. 'Measures such as handrails on the platform might have saved her life,' he said.
Media Coverage
Date of Article
The Argus
19 September 2005
The Argus
18 August 2005
The Argus
25 February 2005
BBC News
24 February 2005
BBC News
29 December 2003
BBC News
11 December 2003
The Argus
30 December 2003

11 May 2013

Call for more zip wire regulation after accidental death

The circumstances of Tanya's death and the inquest afterwards were profoundly distressing for Tanya's friends and family, as they would be any sudden death. The long wait between the accident in December 2003 and the inquest in February 2005 was unbearable for all concerned as the wheels of the investigation slowly turned.

Immediately after the inquest I gave a statement to the media saying that Tanya would not want to deter anyone from participating in outdoor activities but the family had been surprised at the lack of regulation of zip wires and that perhaps in light of this accident and others there should be some guidelines on their design. 

The coroner said that "whatever went wrong went wrong up on the (zip wire) platform... that is where she got in trouble. Whether she (Tanya) attempted to get out of the situation and by accident put her foot in the wrong place and then fell off I don't know but I am reasonably satisfied she did step off by accident." I said in that case, measures such as handrails and toe rails on the platform might have saved her life.

Sadly no regulations or recommendations were put in place and today another family and a coroner is calling for better regulation of zip-wires after another long-awaited inquest into a zip-wire death in 2011.

The BBC reported:

More regulations are needed for zip wires says a coroner, after an 11-year-old boy's death in a fall at a theme park was ruled as accidental.

Bailey Sumner, from Blackpool, had been wrongly attached to rope at Greenwood Forest Park near Caernarfon on Easter Sunday in 2011, an inquest jury heard.
Wales Online also reported the tragedy:

Zipwire death of schoolboy Bailey Sumner was an accident inquest decides

Grandfather Philip Lonsdale said he was “absolutely amazed” there was no need for zipwire rides to be licensed or inspected.

The death of a schoolboy who fell to his death from a zip-wire ride was an accident, an inquest jury has decided.
Bailey Sumner was visiting the Greenwood Forest Park near Felinheli, near Bangor, on Easter Sunday two years ago when he fell from the newly installed Swampflyer ride and suffered serious head injuries.
His mother Dawn, who was waiting for the 11 year old at the bottom of the ride, rushed to his side within seconds of the fall. She was with him at Ysbyty Gwynedd, where he later died.
She was too upset to speak after the three-day hearing at Dolgellau today but Bailey’s grandfather Philip Lonsdale said he was “absolutely amazed” there was no need for zipwire rides to be licensed or inspected.
He said:  “I think it very important the Government step in to ensure there are regulations to cover zipwires. It’s been apparent throughout that advice and guidance have not been available.
“The Greenwood Park tried their best to get the advice they needed and they were let down.”
Mr Lonsdale urged the Greenwood Park owners to reopen the zipwire ride again.
“They should do so in light of what we’ve heard today and if they do I’ll be the first to ride it,” he said
North Wales coroner Nicola Jones, sitting at Dolgellau Magistrates Court, said she will be writing to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other agencies demanding action be taken to prevent tragedies like Bailey’s death.
She said: “Stephen Bristow [owner of Greenwood Forest Park] continually sought guidance but none was available. The lack of guidance played a significant part in how Bailey came to die.”
After the hearing Mr Bristow said: “The safety of our visitors is our top priority and we welcome the coroner’s move to urge the HSE to consider whether specific guidance should be drafted and made publicly available to ensure a tragic accident like this does not happen again.
“The tragic death of Bailey has deeply affected and saddened everyone at Greenwood and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”
But Gwynedd council last night confirmed its investigations into the incident are continuing. An official was present throughout the hearing.
A spokesman said:  “We are continuing to carry out investigations into possible regulatory breaches concerning the tragic incident at Greenwood Forest Park. Our officers have been carefully considering all the possible options before deciding what action is necessary.
“Now that the inquest has come to an end, we will be moving forward to pursue these actions.”
The jury heard Bailey, from Blackpool, may have fallen because he was attached to the zipwire by a false loop in a lanyard.
It has also been suggested Bailey had tampered with a carabiner clip on a lanyard which attached his harness to the zipwire.
But Mr Bristow, recalled to answer questions about this point yesterday, said the clips used at Greenwood Forest Park were “very difficult to open”
The coroner ordered the jury to disregard this evidence during their deliberations.
The jury also heard evidence from health and safety experts yesterday.
David Riley, of the Health and Safety Laboratory, who carry out tests on behalf of the HSE, said he had considered the system used at the park.
Asked by the coroner if “human error was a latent failure” in the system he replied “that is my opinion”.
The jury heard the specialist company which installed the ride also trained senior park staff.
Asked about the training manual, expert witness Paul McCann said: “Its details are sketchy and not tailored to the needs of  the park. I would expect something more specific.”
Barrister Kevin Elliott, for Greenwood Forest Park, asked if the HSE had issued any guidance about the perils of zipwire operation.
Mr McCann said: “I’m not sure but I believe there should be.”
Another expert, Louise Robinson, said she was not aware of any other incident involving false loops leading to injury in her 10 years’ experience as a health and safety inspector

24 Mar 2013

Brighton Pride 1994

About 34 seconds into this film, there is Tanya in some outrageous striped trousers carrying a flag in Brighton's 1994 LGBT Pride Parade. If I recall, Tanya joined (started?) an organised flag waving team and took part in many parades in her lifetime.

Some interesting discourse on history of Brighton Pride by Reflections in the Greenhouse

"...We had also begun to take our history seriously; the campaign against Section 28 spawned the wonderful Brighton Ourstory project. One of the highlights of Pride in 1991 was a walking tour of queer history in the city, led by Ourstory founder Tom Sargant. We knew that there had been a Pride parade in Brighton in 1973, but that the momentum had been lost and there had been no local Pride events since."

23 Mar 2013

Louisa's Memories

I was at Elliot School in Putney with Tanya, we were in the same class and good friends. 

I've thought about her so often over the years, wondered what she was up to and sure that it would be something great and good. 

I'm not a Facebooker or anything and today I thought I'd just tap her name into Google to see if I could find
her and came across the tragic news. I'm so, so sorry and my heart goes out to all of you. 

I just wanted to tell you that she was the one person that made school bearable (just!) for me. She was
a good friend and a mother-hen rolled into one and oh, she was so cool! 

Looked great, was funny, interesting and bloody clever and SO capable. I remember wanting just a bit of her capability, wanted just to be a little bit like her so that I could deal with the world better. We thought everyone else were twits at school, bar a few. 

She shaved off an eyebrow once (I'm pretty sure it was just one), showed it to me in the middle of a class, I thought it was fantastic, hardcore punk! I had wondered why she had been smoothing down her fringe more than usual. I remember asking her why she had done it and she said it was because she was bored! 

photo of "Louweeza" taken by Tanya
(a dodgy phone scan)
I recognised her writing from your A-Z of Fatherhood photo, I've still got loads of scrappy little notes that we'd pass around in class.

I don't know why I've still got these things, they're just in a big box of old stuff. Glad I have got them though. I remember your place in
St Peter's Square, was Stiff Records near to you (it was Island Records) I seem to think it was? 

After one particular summer holiday, we were back at school with a lot to talk about, you'd all been away on the set of
Escape to Athena, (my step father was/is an actor, so I remember the film) and I'd had an adventurous summer too. LOTS of notes flying around the class. 

The photo you have up as your favourite one is exactly how I remember Tanya - beautiful. I remember her laugh very well,
and funnily, I remember her hands, she had lovely hands. 

I knew Tanya would go on to great and good and it seems she did.

What a gal! I'm proud to have known her even just for that short, young time.

Louisa (was Marinker)