Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Family Day Turned Tragic

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Family Day Turned Tragic

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jamie Diffley and Joanne Parkinson

Two sisters today told how they desperately tried to save one of the victims of the runaway inflatable tragedy.

Clare Wilson and Kerry Laws pulled Elizabeth Collings out from the deflated artwork and fought in vain to keep her alive.

The pair tore at the plastic with their nails, teeth and keys as they scrambled to get people free at Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street.

Mrs Collings, 68, of County Durham, was given mouth-to-mouth at the scene but died later.

The second victim, Claire Furmedge, was visiting the attraction with her two daughters, six and eight.

She was a radiologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, and lived in the Whitehills area of Chester-le-Street, about two miles from the scene.

Her children were kept at Durham University Hospital overnight with cuts and bruises.

Mrs Furmedge leaves her husband Gary, also 38, a senior manager with Benfield Motors. In a statement, Mr Furmedge said: "My family and I are deeply shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken my beautiful wife."

Sisters Clare and Kerry were about to go on the huge blow-up Dreamscape attraction in Chester-le-Street on Sunday when they saw it flip into the air.

The horrified pair rushed to the scene and were among scores of visitors who tried to help the victims.

Bodies were trapped under the maze as it came crashing down to earth. Two people were killed and 12 more were injured.

Clare, 22, of Shiremoor, North Tyneside, and Kerry were enjoying a family day out at the park with their mum, Clare's husband Steven and the couple's 18-month and seven-month-old children. Like hundreds of others, they had enjoyed a picnic and were about to join spectators at the 2,500sq m inflatable.

Kerry, 17, of Wallsend, said: "We were walking over. …

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