Thousands donated to fundraising campaign for two girls whose parents were killed in horror crash

Thousands of pounds have already been raised for two sisters whose parents were killed in a crash in Cambridgeshire.

Tributes have been paid to Robert Bateman and his wife Paula.
Tributes have been paid to Robert Bateman and his wife Paula.

The head-on collision involved a Ford Focus and an Iveco Daily van and took place on the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal just after 8pm on Thursday (September 3).

Emergency services attended but the man driving the Ford Focus, Robert Bateman, (known as Bob) (36) and his wife, Paula (35), who was one of the rear passengers, died at the scene.

The couple, of Westfield Road, Manea, March, had two daughters, Lexi aged 10 and 18-month old Elizabeth, in the car.

The Bateman family. Pic: Cambs police

It was initially thought that both girls, who were taken to hospital, suffered minor injuries. However, further hospital checks revealed that Lexi suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. Both girls have since been discharged from hospital.

Tributes have been paid to the couple and a fundraising page set up by a well-wisher has raised more than £7,000 so far.

The fundraiser was set up with a target of £1,000 but quickly surpassed that total.

One man who donated £500 said: “This is so so tragic; being a father myself I could not even begin to imagine how this has affected the family and friends. I wish I could do so much more but me and my wife hope this will help.”

Another post said: “My heart is breaking for Lexi and Elizabeth. Bob and Paula were the best of people and the best parents. I will miss them both dearly.”

Sam Palmer posted: “I knew Bob and Paula through a shared hobby and they were always incredibly warm and open people. They’ll be greatly missed. Those girls need all the love and support in the world right now.”

In a statement, Robert and Paula’s family said: “We are utterly devastated by this news. Bob and Paula were much-loved friends to many and will be missed by everyone who knew them.

“They were also utterly devoted parents. Bob was a much-loved son and father, while Paula was a much-loved daughter, sister and mother.”

The van driver suffered minor injuries. The 32-year-old man from Lincoln was subsequently arrested on suspicion of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

He was taken into custody at Thorpe Wood Police Station.

Anyone who saw the collision or the vehicles in the lead up to it, or has dash cam footage, is urged to contact police via web chat or by calling 101, quoting incident number 478 of 3 September.