The family of a man who was killed by a falling tree near flushing have paid tribute after the conclusion of an inquest into his death.

Paul John Welch, 53, was killed when a massive oak tree crashed down a steep embankment at Sailor’s Creek in the Fal estuary near Flushing.

Mr Welch was known locally as the owner/skipper of the Lowestoft beam sailing trawler, Keewaydin, built in 1913.

The inquest originally took place last year in July, but was adjourned until November before begin adjourned again until this week (June 7).

Falmouth Packet: Paul WelchPaul Welch

During his findings of fact, Senior Coroner Andrew Cox recorded the cause of death as massive head injuries, explaining: "This death sadly occurred on January 2 2021at Sailor's Creek in Flushing when an over hanging tree feel from a river bank while Mr Welch was walking along a foreshore.

"The land owner was Mr Trefusis and his son, Jan, who were involved in the management of the estate.

"We have heard that, as part of the management of the estate, tree surveys were conducted.

"Mr Trefusis had understood that, when the surveys were undertaken, they included the area around Sailor's Creek.

"That area was unintentionally omitted from the tree survey.

"The omission of the trees around Sailor's Creek was, nevertheless, an unfortunate oversight."

Senior Coroner Andrew Cox also stated that the suggestion that if the trees around Sailor's Creek had been surveyed the incident could have been avoided was "highly unlikely."

He continued: "The tree that fell was found to be well.

"The risk it presented was small."

Falmouth Packet: The location of the incident at Sailor's Creek, in Flushing. The location of the incident at Sailor's Creek, in Flushing.


In a statement sent to The Packet and read out during the inquest, Mr Welch's wife, Harriet Thody, said: "Paul's family and the wider community are devastated by Paul's death.

"Paul was a quiet gentle man with a hard working attitude.

"Paul's philosophy was simple.

"He believed in being gentle.

"Gentle on the planet, leaving it better than we found it.

"Grow and be as self-sufficient as possible.

"Paul's death has impacted many people, particularly those who came to him for emotional support.

"He was a man of few careful words, he was an excellent listener.

"He would also be the first person people turned to in a physical, practical way.

"'Can't do' was not an option.

"The boat Keewaydin was an example of that.

Falmouth Packet: The tree fell down the river bank. The tree fell down the river bank.

"I am left as a single mother bringing up a brilliant daughter without the key person in her life.

"I now face this alone.

"It is unbelievably hard when I am also dealing with my own grief.

"My way of moving onwards is to appreciate that we were all lucky to have spent time in his company, he taught us a lot and he is will always be with us."

Claire Glasgow from Fieldfisher law firm supporting Paul's family at the inquest, said: "One of Harriet's hopes following the inquest is that a tragic event like this will never happen again.

"The Coroner heard from those in charge of maintaining the trees on the Trefusis estate, and we will continue to investigate that all the trees were properly managed so that no other family has to go through such heartbreak."