Tributes paid to much-loved Harpenden shopkeeper killed in freak accident

The car which crashed into a pedestrian can be seen outside Sainsbury's as emergency services attend

The car which crashed into a pedestrian can be seen outside Sainsbury's as emergency services attend the scene - Credit: Archant

Shock and disbelief in the community has greeted the death of a popular local retailer in a freak accident on Tuesday morning.

Thorns owner Colin Moxley, who was killed this week

Thorns owner Colin Moxley, who was killed this week - Credit: Archant

Shock and disbelief in the community has greeted the death of a popular local retailer in a freak accident on Tuesday morning.

Colin Moxley, owner of Thorns on Bower’s Parade, Harpenden, was killed when a grey Volkswagen Golf mounted the pedestrianised area outside Sainsbury’s, also in Bower’s Parade, at around 11.20am and struck him as he was walking along.

He suffered chest and head injuries and although an air ambulance landed on Harpenden Common, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, a woman in her 80s, was taken to hospital with minor injuries.


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Colin was the owner of Harpenden’s oldest shop, Thorns, a confectioner and tobacconists, and was well loved in the community.

Local retailer and friend, Tony McFarland, paid tribute: “Colin was one of the true characters around town, always pleased to help anyone in need.

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“Having known him most of my life he will be greatly missed; he managed to put a smile on many people’s faces, adults and children alike.

“His input to the local community was far reaching and his smiling face in Thorns will be remembered by many local residents in Harpenden, a true gentleman. “Our thoughts go out to all his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Town Mayor, Mary Maynard, said: “It’s so very, very sad. He had been established here for years and everyone is going to be touched by this.

“He showed heart, he showed real community spirit, he was really at the heart of the local community, he really cared.

“It’s going to make a difference to the community because he made such a difference.”

Former Town Mayor and owner of the former C & A store adjacent to Thorns, Michael Weaver, said: “Colin’s been in Harpenden a long time and when I came to Harpenden Thorns was here.

“He has been a very well-recognised character in the community and is a very well-known person.”

Last year Colin put on an impressive window tribute to the fallen of WW1, which he spent six months creating.

Michael added: “He gave a very good service and had a patriotic spirit, shown with his WW1 display last year; he wanted to recognise the people who gave their lives. He was a friendly person who really cared about the community.”

Staff of Santander and Sainsbury’s have been commended on social media for their quick actions and community support.

Santander branch director, Ali Haynes, commented: “I would like to offer our sincere condolences to his family.

“I’m proud of my team for their quick response and the invaluable assistance they provided the police and emergency services.

“Thanks to their efforts, we were able to use our branch as a place to treat those injured and also passers-by who saw the accident and were suffering with shock.”

Police are appealing for witnesses and information. Pc Robert Hauxwell from the road policing unit said the family was being supported by a specialist officer.

He urged anyone who saw the incident itself or the vehicle and events leading up to it to contact him on the non-emergency number 101.

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