John Parish - Fell ‘Here 17th April 2001’.

Email request of the Library.

I was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction to find some information.
My step dad and I were walking in beside a stream which ran down the hillside towards Birling. The stream was crossed by two footbridges about a metre wide and three metres long from one bank to the other. One of the bridges was in good condition and would still take pedestrians. The other bridge had collapsed into the stream. On one of the remaining upright posts was nailed a small brass plate about 8 cm by 4 cm. On it was written the
following:
'John Parish Fell Here 17th April 2001'

My stepdad was just curious to find out some information on him and the memorial.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you

Response

We were surprised to receive your query as we are a family history society and most of the information we deal with is older than 2001 because of the closure rules that refer to official documents. There is also the GDPR that prevent us providing details of living people that can make them recognisable.
That being said the word 'fell' could imply that John Parish was dead. We could not find a death registration for a 'John Parish' for this date. The other meaning could be that poor John Parish fell through or off this bridge.
We had a quick look at the British Newspaper Archive web site but there were no Newspapers for the right area or year of a 'John parish'. One of the more local newspapers may have this information, but a web search did not find articles for this year and place. You may have better luck.
We suggest that the first port of call should be the local Birling parish office and if they are shut you will find they have a web presence and do accept email queries.
If they don't know they will know who is responsible for the maintenance of the bridges. It may be the KCC. The KCC holds a register of the public footpaths and they may be able to give you that information. They may also have knowledge of who put up the plaque and why.
The other point of contact should be the local history society. If they like us may not be meeting but if they have a web site they may accept email queries such as yours.
Good luck with your search and if you discover who John Parish was and what happened on the 17th April 2001 please can you let us know. We are curious.

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