Father of tragic Jason Burden reveals importance of Workers’ Memorial Day wreath-laying

Maria and Trevor Burden (left) with family members hold a wreath in memory of their son Jason.
Maria and Trevor Burden (left) with family members hold a wreath in memory of their son Jason.

A dad whose son died in an industrial accident has spoken of the importance of keeping his memory alive and highlighting the vital importance of workplace health and safety.

Jason Burden, 19, was in the final year of an apprenticeship at Tyne Slipway and Engineering company, at South Docks, Sunderland, when a piece of shipping machinery fell and crushed him on December 8, 2011.

Jason Burden, from South Shields, who died in an industrial accident at Wear Dock, Sunderland.

Jason Burden, from South Shields, who died in an industrial accident at Wear Dock, Sunderland.

His parents Trevor and Maria will lay the first wreath at a Workers’ Memorial Day service in Hartlepool on Sunday, April 28, to remember those who have lost their lives in the course of work.

The couple have been regular attendees at Workers’ Memorial Day since losing their son.

“I did a speech at the Hartlepool service in memory of Jason one year about the importance of health and safety in the workplace,” said Trevor.

“It is important to us as a family to pay our respects not just to Jason but to everybody who has died in the workplace.”

It is important to us as a family to pay our respects not just to Jason but to everybody who has died in the workplace.

Trevor Burden

Trevor is angry that companies are still allowing health and safety breaches to occur: “It is happening every day - another family will suffer what we have suffered,” he said.

The couple’s younger son Josh is now just a year younger than Jason was when he died and has started work as an air conditioning apprentice: “My younger son is 18 now and when he goes to work, we do get anxious, but we have got to back him. We just want him to do the best he can, hopefully.”

For Trevor and Maria, the Workers’ Memorial Day service and wreath-laying is an opportunity to remember their son in a way that many bereaved families take for granted.

“Jason actually died in the air ambulance, so we have not got anywhere that we can go to lay flowers,” said Trevor, of South Shields.

“So this is a nice way to get to lay a wreath.”