Wessex Water pays tribute to four men killed in explosion in Avonmouth as £100,000 raised by memorial fund

Wessex Water employees and local residents say they're still in shock.

Wessex Water has paid tribute to the four men killed in an explosion at its site in Avonmouth, with a memorial fund set up by the firm already raising £100,000.

An online book of condolences has also been opened for the four people who were killed in the blast at a water treatment works in Avonmouth.

Wessex Water has paid tribute to the four victims - Brian Vickery, Luke Wheaton, Ray White and Mike James - on a JustGiving page .

The memorial fund describes 63-year-old Brian Vickery as one of its "most loyal, dedicated and very hard-working employees". Brian had worked for the firm for more than 42 years.

It says: "He was respected by his colleagues and never missed an opportunity to make someone smile.  His colleagues say he had knowledge and experience like no-one else did and always put others before him."

Floral tributes have been left at the scene

Paying tribute to 57-year-old Ray White, the firm said he was a "skilled, loyal and hardworking" man. He had worked for Wessex Water for 19 years and was known as "the machine" because of his determination and drive.

Luke Wheaton, 16, had just started his apprenticeship but the firm said the "sports mad" teenager "blended with the team immediately".

The Wessex Water Memorial Fund said: "His no fuss attitude in carrying out tasks was superb and he was everything we wanted in an apprentice and future emp


Mike James was working as a contractor at the time of the blast. The 64-year-old had a longstanding relationship with Wessex Water, with the company saying: "We will miss Mike’s dedication and experience."

The memorial fund has already raised £100,000, with the firm's CEO Colin Skellett donating £1,000.

He wrote: "Such a tragedy - devastating and heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues."

In a statement, the firm said: "The whole Wessex Water family has been devastated by the tragic events at Avonmouth.

"We have been overwhelmed with numerous messages from friends, colleagues, former colleagues, our regulators and the wider water industry both in the UK and across the world expressing their condolences and support."

Enquiries are ongoing into the cause of the incident, which happened in a silo at the water recycling plant.

A fifth person who was injured is now at home.

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