Croydon tram crash coroner’s inquest: Phil Seary

Phil Seary: 1959-2016

After the long-delayed inquest opened yesterday into the deaths of seven passengers on a Croydon tram in a derailment at Sandilands in November 2016, today was spent with family members of those who died reading prepared statements – pen portraits – to described their lost loved ones.
Phil Seary’s pen portrait was read to the inquest by wife, Ann

I am the wife of Phillip Seary (“Phil”), who died in the tram accident on 9th November 2016. Phil was born on 12th August 1959 and so he would have been 57 when he died.

Phil was a kind, extremely hard working and a much-loved and caring person. He was extremely likeable and had an impact on everyone he met. I do not think I will ever come to terms with how cruelly he was taken from us.
I met Phil in America, we had set up on a blind date by my friend Donna. Things just went from strength to strength and we married on 5 May 1990. We decided to move back to the UK. When we moved over we rented a house in New Addington. I still live here now.

I have 3 daughters, Martha is the oldest, then Erica, then Karina. At the time we moved Martha was 17, Erica 5 and Karina 2. They are not Phil’s biological children but he loved and treated them as though they were. He would do anything for them and there was never any question as to him being their father. He was a brilliant father and grandfather.

I cannot even explain in words how much Phil did for the girls. He was not only an emotional support but Erica was a single mum and he very much acted as grandfather and father to her daughter Shayla.

Karina had been through a long fertility battle. She was undertaking treatment at the time of Phil’s death and now has a beautiful two-year-old daughter who Phil never got the chance to meet.

We are a very close family. We spend all special occasions together, we would always have Christmas at our home. Phil’s death has left us all numb, tearful and just coasting along in life with no real direction or purpose.

Phil used to love football, he was a Crystal Palace supporter. He used to go to most of the games.

Phil was a maintenance electrician. He worked for BT before we met, then moved to Honeywells followed by Selfridges until 1999 when he secured a job at the Royal Opera House. Phil was one of the longest-standing employees there, he knew the Opera House like no other. He was so dedicated to work. Even when he was injured or ill he would still go to work.

Phil was also a Chair of Governors at school; he did this role for well over 10 years. He was even Father Christmas at school for many years.

On Saturday 12th November the police confirmed Phil was one of the victims. He was apparently the second to last to be removed from the tram; they said he had died instantly from the injuries sustained. What always plagues me is he would normally be working nights but because of an injury sustained in August he needed to work days; which is why he went to work that morning. He shouldn’t have been on that tram.

Phil and I were going to start travelling when I retired. We wanted to travel round Europe.

My life has a huge part missing, I have had a rough time of things but after meeting Phil my life felt complete. The biggest regret I have is not showing my appreciation enough. There is no one to share my news with, no one to support me at home. They say opposites attract, he was the positive one, always happy and I guess I am more pessimistic. It is only once someone is gone is when you realise out how much they actually did. There is void in my life now that will never be filled.

Our lives have truly been changed forever and will never be the same again from losing Phil. I do not think I could ever really describe or explain what Phil meant to the family or the hole his loss has left in our hearts and lives, the amount of pain and devastation this caused and how much we miss him.

Phil was a very kind and lovable man. He was a great Dad, Husband, Grandfather, Son and Friend. He was funny, silly and just a little bit dopey which made him all the more loveable. Phil was also warm, lovable, kind, generous, easy to talk to and truly one of the good guys with a heart of gold that really would do anything for anyone.

Read more: No one to blame. Or no one cares? Tram crash case dropped
Read more: TfL safety audit kept secret from crash investigators
Read more: Driver of crashed tram ‘too unwell’ to give evidence at inquest
Read more: TfL considered cancelling tram contract after 2016 crash

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