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Cherry blossom tree planted in memory of 13-year-old-boy

A tree has been planted in memory of a 13-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car on Switchback Road North four days before Christmas.

Max Simmons, a Furze Platt Senior School student, was walking along the road, between Furze Platt and Cookham, on Saturday, December 21 when he was fatally struck by a car.

The cherry blossom tree, which stands in his memory at the scene of the incident, was chosen by Max’s mum, Emma, and planted by Tom Copas.

Mr Copas is family partner of diversified farming business, The Copas Partnership, whose office is based in Kings Coppice Farm in Grubwood Lane, Cookham.

He said: “We were very upset to hear about the accident and we thought it was an opportunity to do something significant, I was planting some trees, so I thought I’d offer to plant a tree for her.”

Emma described the tree planting as a ‘feel good moment’ at an uncertain time, and an opportunity to reflect and think about Max.

She said: “The whole community were, and still are, an amazing source of support for myself and my 17-year-old son, Harry [Appleton].

“The last few months have been very hard for us, but we truly could not have got through it without the love and support of our friends and family.”

Emma also expressed her sincere thanks to Tom Copas ‘for his wonderful gesture’.

She said: “When Mr Copas first contacted me and was so kind to make the offer he said I could choose whatever tree I liked.

“So I thought about it and remembered, when I was pregnant with Max, I craved cherries and would often send his dad off to the Copas farm to the ‘pick your own’ for a bag or two.”

To avoid ‘birds re-planting more cherry trees all over the place’ Emma opted for a cherry blossom tree, rather than a cherry tree, which she describes as ‘beautiful’.

A tree planting ceremony to be attended by Max’s family and friends was due to take place on Thursday, March 19 but was postponed as a precaution because of concern surrounding coronavirus.

Emma said: “We will of course make a plan to mark the occasion when the sun is shining down on us all again.”

  • During the planting of the tree social distancing was maintained at all times.
  • James Lavine, 34, of Boundary Road, Wooburn Green, pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the incident in January. A pre-trial review is due to take place on Monday, May 11 although this could change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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