St Albans runner killed on “dangerous” road

TRIBUTES have been paid to a runner who died after an accident with a car while he was out training for the St Albans Half Marathon.

Paul Farmer was running along Oakland’s Lane, Smallford, at around 9.30am, on Saturday when the fatal accident involving the silver Ford Fiesta happened.

The 55-year-old of Harlesden Road, St Albans, was taken to the QE11 hospital where he died shortly afterwards. The 21-year-old woman driving was uninjured.

Paul, a keen photographer, leaves behind his wife of 33 years Rona, daughter Sian, 27, and sons Emlyn, 29, and Alun, 23.

As the family paid tribute to him this week, Rona said: “Paul was a good provider and companion. He was a loving person and always there for people. He will be missed by so many.”

Paul was born in Enfield and grew up in Potters Bar, where he attended Mount Grace Secondary School.

After leaving school at 18, he worked at QE11 hospital until he left to work at Hillingdon Hospital where he progressed on to a managerial role.

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He met Rona whilst skating at Alexandra Palace in the mid 1970s. She said: “I was holding on to the side and trying not to fall over but he was a very good skater.”

They married in 1976 in Potters Bar and soon moved to London Colney before moving into St Albans in the 1980s.

Paul continued to work in the health service at various locations including the Red House in Harpenden.

In 1992 he went on to study for a masters degree in business administration at Warwick University, during which time he met his business partner with whom he would start up the company Directions Consultancy.

Rona continued: “Paul advised health trusts across the UK about how to save costs with their new buildings and how to spend money more efficiently when redesigning properties. He was well known and well thought of, and people enjoyed working with him.”

In his spare time Paul enjoyed a variety of hobbies including running, sailing and photography, for which he was awarded second prize in a local competition.

Rona continued: “He was training for the St Albans half marathon on Saturday morning when the accident happened. He had done many half marathons in the past and raised money for various charities.”

The family said Paul’s charitable streak was a theme throughout his life.

He ran a junior squash club in Harpenden from 1992 to 2000, a hobby which he wanted to share with others.

He learnt to sail in his teens and built a boat with a friend at the age of 18 and later taught young people to sail through the charitable organisation Urban Saints, of which he recently become an honorary member.

His daughter Sian said: “Dad loved his motorbike and went out on it a lot. He has re-built motorbikes and was in the process of restoring a couple which we have in the garage. He liked getting out and about and had recently taken up fly fishing. He would go to Redbournbury Mill fishing lake and was planning his big catch. He loved the peace and quiet and having some time to himself.”

Sian continued: “Dad always had time for people. He was a genuine and professional man. He was my sounding board and I’d always go to him if I needed advice.”

The family would like only immediate family to send flowers to the funeral.

A donation in Paul’s memory can be made either directly to the family or to Urbans Saints, Leukaemia Research or Asthma UK, causes very close to Paul’s heart.

Police are appealing for information and witnesses about the accident. Anyone that can help should contact them immediately on 0845 33 00 222.

CONCERNS about the lane where runner Peter Farmer had the fatal accident have been raised for the past 10 years, it emerged this week.

Ward councillor Chris Brazier said that there had been an ongoing campaign by him and local residents to get safety measures imposed along Oaklands Lane, Smallford.

He pointed out that the spot where Mr Farmer was hit by a car, opposite the Harvesters Football Club grounds, was particularly dangerous as it led up to a sharp bend and there is no pavement or footpath to use.

Cllr Brazier had been especially concerned about children using the football club and put pressure on Herts Highways to install safety measures and a zebra crossing where the footpath from Sandpit Lane ends, to allow people to cross safely and slow traffic down.

He said that the safety measures may not have prevented the accident, but would have slowed down the traffic at the very least.

Cllr Brazier continued: “I’ve been campaigning on this for 10 years but the police and highways authority have always told us that there isn’t a proven need. But now our worse fears have been realised.”

“It’s a very heavily used lane, there are people on Saturday running and cycling, and people going to the football matches and the youth team going across the road, so we need some safety measures installed there like a zebra crossing.

“I’m just hoping this tragedy brings the dangers of that road to the attention of the authorities that can make these decisions.”

A spokesperson for Herts Highways said: “We were very sorry to hear about this fatal collision and extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the man involved.

“We are working with the police on an investigation into the incident. Until the exact circumstances of the collision are clear, we will not know whether any casualty reduction measures will be proposed.”