Family pay tribute to Burton Bradstock beach landslide victim Charlotte Blackman


Family and friends of a landslide victim have paid tribute to a “genuine, warm and funny young woman”.

Charlotte Blackman died after being crushed as 400 tonnes of rock fell on her during a trip to the beach.

The 22-year-old, from Heanor, Derbyshire, was on holiday with her family and boyfriend when part of a 160ft-high cliff-face on the Jurassic Coast collapsed and sent a mountain of rocks plummeting onto the sand below.

Her body was found under piles of rubble at the popular holiday spot in Burton Bradstock, Dorset, following a nine-hour search operation.

Her uncle, Douglas Blackman, said: "She was on holiday with her whole family, her mum Rachel, dad Kevin, sister Sinead, little brother Mitchell, and boyfriend Matt.

"My brother and her boyfriend and her little brother were there when it happened. I understand the boyfriend got her little brother away into the sea to get him from it.

"She was a lively, fun-loving woman, who had her whole life in front of her."

Miss Blackman was a volunteer with Derbyshire Autism Services Group, where she worked one-to-one with people with autism, including children, and help to give their families a break.

The group's manager, Margaret Reeve, paid tribute to Miss Blackman today and said she was a "wonderful, wonderful young woman".

"She was a very genuine person, very warm, very funny, and had a great deal of time for people. She was a very good volunteer," she added.

"People always spoke highly of her, she was very well thought of.

"Charlotte was one of those people who could walk into a room and make everybody smile, she could make you laugh. She was a very dedicated worker."

Mrs Reeve said Miss Blackman had been with the group for a number of years and hoped to go into a career working with people with autism.

Her work stemmed from a deep desire to help, Mrs Reeve said.

"Charlotte was one of those people that really cared about others," she said.

"She was so good and she had a brilliant future ahead of her. She did very well in her exams.

"We're absolutely shocked here, and stunned. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and we're trying to get our heads round this."

Witnesses said Miss Blackman, the oldest of the three siblings, was walking along the beach with her boyfriend and father when they were caught up in the landslip.

The two men were pulled from the rocks by bystanders, but they were unable to locate the woman, who was walking directly under the rock fall, according to reports.

Police today urged visitors to stay away from parts of the Jurassic Coast, sections of which have been crashing into the sea for generations.

Mike Darby, neighbourhood inspector with Dorset Police, said: "The Dorset Local Resilience Force, which comprises police, fire, council and coastguard among others, is advising residents and visitors to west Dorset to avoid cliffs and beaches with a cliff-top backstop, following a significant landslide."

Hive Beach, where the landslide happened, remained fenced off to the public, with a police officer standing guard.

Mr Darby said other officers and RNLI volunteers were also speaking to people in car parks surrounding the scene of the tragedy, in an effort to "get the safety message across".

Miss Blackman's family, which he described as being "very close (to each other)", are currently being looked after by officers.

The tragedy came a fortnight after Somerset couple Rosemary Snell, 67, and Michael Rolfe, 72, were killed in a landslide at the Beaminster Tunnel, just nine miles away.

The area was also hit by severe flooding which left much of the community under water.

David Evans, environment officer for Dorset council, described yesterday's incident as a "most unfortunate accident".

"It's a feature of the geology of the Jurassic Coast that rock slides have happened since time and memorial," he said.

"We have always had signs that there is a risk. The particular problem here has been created by heavy rainfall, so we put out extra warnings to the media.

"Most of west Dorset is unaffected, we're trying to keep as much open as possible. Please follow the signs, they are there for the public's safety.

"You can't predict exactly where these things will occur."

He said the council's geologist was today continuing investigations into the landslide.

"We know there is an increased risk as a result of the weather conditions," he added.

Emergency services were all called to deal with the landslide at 12.30pm yesterday.

It hit just 400 yards from the Freshwater Beach Holiday Park as scores of holidaymakers enjoyed what was the hottest day of the year.

Craig Baker, of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, said they had always maintained hope that the 22-year-old victim would be pulled from the rubble alive.

He said: "We always hoped that this would be successful. From the initial time of call right through to the time of discovery, it was always the focus that this was a search and rescue operation."

The inquest into Miss Blackman's death was opened and adjourned in Dorchester this afternoon, police later confirmed.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Web Developer

£18000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Graduate Database Developer (SQL)

£18000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Community / Stakeholder Manager - Solar PV

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Senior Marketing Executive (B2B/B2C) - London

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor