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Brandon Lewis: ‘We must learn lessons after Gorleston tragedy’

PUBLISHED: 17:59 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:26 03 July 2018

Floral tributes and soft toys have been left at the scene on Gorleston beach where a young girl died while on an inflatable trampoline. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Floral tributes and soft toys have been left at the scene on Gorleston beach where a young girl died while on an inflatable trampoline. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis has demanded “lessons are learnt” after an inflatable trampoline exploded killing a three-year-old girl on a Norfolk beach.

The Great Yarmouth MP was speaking after horrified onlookers told of seeing the girl thrown high into the air after hearing a “massive explosion”.

Zoe Dye, 32, from Bradwell, described how she heard a loud bang and then “looked up and saw the little girl high up in the air”.

A joint investigation into the death of the girl – who was visiting the beach with her family from Suffolk – has been launched by police and the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Lewis said: “This is a tragedy, and my thoughts go out to the family and friends of the young girl.

Brandon Lewis says 'lessons must be learnt' after the death of a three-year-old on Gorleston beachBrandon Lewis says 'lessons must be learnt' after the death of a three-year-old on Gorleston beach

“A parent myself, I can’t imagine the grief being experienced by the family during this difficult time. Clearly lessons need to be learnt from this, and I will assist any and every agency who will be involved investigating this incident and make sure that lessons are learnt.”

Police were called to the packed beach at 11:15am on Sunday morning and the girl, who has not yet been named, was taken to James Paget Hospital where she later died.

After the horror unfolded former Tory education minister Robert Halfon asked whether a temporary ban on inflatables and bouncy castles should be enforced while the cause of the accident is known.

Mr Halfon is the MP for Harrow, in Essex, where seven-year-old Summer Grant, from Hellesdon, was killed when a bouncy castle blew free from its moorings in 2016.

Police cordon on Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLYPolice cordon on Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He tweeted: “After two horrific tragedies, government need to look at update of regulations and inspection regime and consider a temporary ban on bouncy castles in public areas until we can be sure that they are safe.”

He tabled an urgent question on the tragedy to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow which would have prompted a short debate in parliament but it was not granted. He said he was “disappointed” but would now table a Commons motion about it.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “It is a terrible accident and a tragic loss of life.

“HSE are looking into it, they are the right people to do so. We need to wait for that investigation to be completed.”

Superintendent Roger Wiltshire, of Norfolk Police, said the incident was “just unimaginable”.

“I’m a dad myself and you just can’t imagine what they would be going through,” he said.

“You come to a seaside town like Great Yarmouth and Gorleston for a day out ... we’ve spent many hours standing by a bouncy castle watching the kids jump up and down.”

He said the attraction was licensed, and the local authority was conducting checks on others following the incident.

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