Published: 00:00, 20 October 2005
TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular father-to-be who was killed in a horrific crash on one of Kent's busiest roads.
Railway engineer James Bradfield, 28, from Herne Bay, was thrown from a minibus in which he was travelling when it collided with a van just past the Whitstable junction on the Thanet Way at 5.55am on Tuesday.
Mr Bradfield had been returning home from a nightshift with five workmates when the accident happened.
He and his girlfriend Becky Parks were expecting their first child in January.
For many years Mr Bradfield had worked as a postman based at the Herne Bay sorting office.
Colleague Ian Cairns said everyone at the sorting office had been shocked by his death. He stressed: “He was a really nice guy who was very well-liked."
In May, 2003 Mr Bradfield obtained a job behind the bar at the May Lodge Club on Central Parade at Herne Bay and became the club’s steward three months later.
He stayed for almost a year before a brief spell back at Royal Mail and then started work as a railway engineer for the GrantRail Group.
May Lodge chairman Dick Eldridge said Mr Bradfield had been a popular steward. “He had a lovely personality and always had time for the customers who in the end became his friends.”
Bar manager Michelle Marshall described Mr Bradfield as a bubbly, happy and hard-working member of staff: “He was just really nice all round. He met Becky through the internet while he was working here and their baby was due in January,” she said.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash which seriously injured three of Mr Bradfield's fellow rail workers.
Their minibus overturned and ended up in a ditch after colliding with a Vauxhall Combo van.
The three seriously injured men were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Margate and one was later transferred to St Thomas’s Hospital, London, where he remains in a serious but stable condition.
Two other men, the minibus driver and another passenger, were also hurt but their injuries were not life-threatening.