‘She lit up our lives’ - Family’s tribute to woman killed in hit-and-run crash

Fenella Hawes

Fenella Hawes, from Stalham, died after being hit by a car on the A149 - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary/Family hand out

The family of a woman killed in a hit-and-run crash have said she “made our world a better place with her vivacious spirit and lit up our lives with her laughter and quirky sense of humour”.

Fenella Hawes, 20, died after being hit by a car on the A149 near Stalham. 

Another 16-year-old girl remains in hospital after suffering serious arm injuries in the crash shortly before 4.30pm on Sunday. 

Floral tributes placed at the crash scene on the A149 near Stalham

Floral tributes placed at the crash scene on the A149 near Stalham - Credit: Simon Parkin

A Lexus SUV failed to stop following the collision but crashed into a lamppost and road sign quarter of a mile further on, near to the town’s Tesco supermarket. 

The driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

“Fenella will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her,” said her family in a statement.

“Her love of the environment and nature was shown in her enjoyment of local walks in woods, the beach and lately in The Lakes. 

“She was a successful student and had completed two years studying Natural Sciences at university and had a trip to Honduras, funded through a bursary that she had been awarded, planned for the future.

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“No words can express how her family and friends feel and we are touched by the messages we have received.”

The fatal accident happened on the A149 near Stalham

The fatal accident happened on the A149 near Stalham - Credit: Simon Parkin

Floral tributes have been laid on the footpath alongside the A149 at a point between Stepping Stone Lane and Chapel Field Road midway between Stalham and the AG Meale & Sons garden centre and farm shop at Wayford. 

Its Vera’s Coffee Shop was not open to the public on Monday with a sign saying it was “closed due to unforeseen circumstances”. 

A spokesman for the business said they would not be commenting further out of respect for the family. 

Locals have expressed sadness at the tragedy which occurred on a straight part of the road, which has a 60mph speed limit.  

Householder Diane Ferguson, 61, who lives close to the scene of the accident, said: “It’s totally shocking and just so sad. My heart goes out to her parents and the family.

“It’s already been felt by people in the town. Everyone who has children or grandchildren, like me, will feel it because we’ve all walked along that road or tried to pull out at the junction, so we know how dangerous it can be.”  

A Lexus SUV crashed into a street light and road sign near Tesco in Stalham

A Lexus SUV crashed into a street light and road sign near Tesco in Stalham - Credit: Simon Parkin

Another local on Stepping Stone Lane, who preferred not to be named, said: “It’s absolutely tragic that a girl like that has died so young. 

“I just cannot understand how someone could hit them on a straight bit of the road like this, but it’s a very dangerous footpath.

“We will no longer walk along when we go into Stalham because we just don’t feel safe anymore and we’ve lived here over 40 years.”

The A149 was closed for several hours while emergency services and accident scene investigations dealt with the two collision sites, which were about quarter of a mile apart.

Where the car crashed a cordon remained in place during Monday, blocking access to part of the footpath and a bus stop next to Tesco. 

The Old Market Road junction beside Tesco has been the scene of several accidents.

Karl Bramble, who lives in Sutton Terrace, said: “It’s a real bottleneck and drivers get impatient and just pull out. There was another accident a few weeks ago that saw the air ambulance land nearby.”

Police cordon in place blocking access to the the A149 footpath and bus stop in Stalham

Police cordon in place blocking access to the the A149 footpath and bus stop in Stalham - Credit: Simon Parkin

Police investigating Sunday’s crash are keen to hear from witnesses, motorists with dash cam footage and anybody who witnessed the manner of driving of the silver Lexus SUV or observed the vehicle in the Stalham area before the collision. 

They’re particularly keen to speak to a man and a woman in a Land Rover Discovery who are believed to have stopped at the scene immediately after the collision.

Anybody with information should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting incident number 360 of Sunday 31 July 2022. They can also email the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at SCIU@norfolk.pnn.police.uk.