River safety campaigner ‘touched’ by Ben Clarkson tributes
Updated 7:52am Friday 6th June 2014 in News
THE girlfriend of Ben Clarkson says she has been shown a wealth of support since he died in the River Foss earlier this year.
Rachel Peatfield who led the campaign to try and help find Ben, 22, after he went missing in March has been a vocal supporter of improvements to river safety in York since his body was found in the river.
Since Ben's death, she has had to get through her 23rd birthday without him, followed by what would have been Ben's own 23rd birthday.
But Rachel said she had been supported by many people, with one tribute arriving from someone in Scarborough.
Rachel said: "I had a call from my family liaison officer to say someone had dropped an envelope off at the police station with a card and a trinket, and they came round and dropped it off.
"It's a wooden heart that says 'Ben and Rachel in my heart forever'. She said she's sorry for my loss and said Ben would be proud and that I'm an inspiration for people. I would just like to say thank you so much. It means a lot that I have the support and that the message is spreading and I'm very grateful. I was really touched it is such a lovely sweet thing to do."
Since Ben's death, Rachel has remained involved in safety campaigns around York's rivers, despite moving back to her family home near Leeds, and has taken part in an interview to be included as part of the safety campaign involving Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan and organisations around the city.
Rachel said: "It was really surreal actually. It almost didn't seem real, because we had cameras and lights up in the house. It didn't entirely feel real. It was my 23rd birthday which felt a bit strange, and then Ben's birthday.
"I'm alright, not too bad. I'm getting there. It's lovely that someone's gone out of their way so much when they didn't need to and it means word is spreading that rivers are dangerous and the effect it has on families and people are realising that."