A40 widower pays tribute to wife and children killed in crash

A young father who survived a horror crash which killed his wife and three of their children has said he will “reflect on the fun that we had as a family, with feelings of sadness that it was cut so short”.

Josh Powell said there were “many battles to come” but said he wanted to “thank everyone who has stood by me” and his 18-month-old daughter Penny, who also survived the crash on the A40 near Oxford on October 12.

In a statement issued through Thames Valley Police, Mr Powell, 30, paid tribute to his wife, 29-year-old blogger Zoe Powell, daughters Phoebe and Amelia, eight and four, and six-year-old son Simeon.

In a touching tribute, Mr Powell said: “I had been blessed with four wonderful children, whose thirst for life and hunger for adventure kept me busy but in the best possible way.

“As I look to an uncertain future, I reflect on the fun that we had as a family, with feelings of sadness that it was cut so short.”

Multiple deaths in Oxford car crash
Multiple deaths in Oxford car crash

Zoe Powell, from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, was killed in a road crash alongside three of her children (Sarah Mak Photography/PA)

Mr Powell described his wife, who was previously from Sheffield, as “a dreamer”.

He said: “Myself and Zoe were as different as we were alike.

“Despite the frequent tensions this would bring, it was of immense benefit having such differing world views.

“Our children benefited from this in having adventures but also the quiet to talk. Zoe was a dreamer; with a head spinning of new things to do or tales to tell. More than anything, we made a great partnership to raise a family.”

Mr Powell also shared moving words about his children.

He said Phoebe was “the model of her mother” who enjoyed exploring the world.

He said: “She was clever and able to make great jumps of imagination – her great creations in Lego are testament to this.”

He said Simeon was “just like his father” and had “a mischievous sense of humour and desire to know more of the world”.

Mr Powell said: “A keen sportsman, he had been due to play in his first football match this week.

“He shared the kind heart of his sisters and wouldn’t be happier than when he knew that everyone was OK.”

He described Amelia as “kind and spirited”, who had “tenderness and thoughtfulness much more advanced than her years”.

The grieving father said: “Her ability to dance and express herself was a true blessing, with an abundance of self-confidence.

“Tied down by no element of practicality she had the most vivid imagination.”

Mr Powell also paid tribute to those who “rushed to put their arms around to us to support me and Penny”.

He said: “As a family that have always preferred understated calm and brevity, it has been a revelation the benefit of the deep wider relationships now I’ve lost my immediate nuclear family.

“There are many battles to come, and I thank everyone who has stood by me and Penny thus far.

“We are well supported and know to ask if anything is needed.

“Now we have the time to readjust and grieve, this is the challenge of the abundance of loss we feel as a family.

“Thank you to those who have respected our space and supported us thus far, and given us the time and space to do this.”

The family were travelling on the A40 when they collided with the HGV near Oxford on Monday evening last week.

The HGV driver, a 56-year-old man, suffered minor injuries and has co-operated fully with the investigation, officers said.

The tragedy came months after the Powell family “lost everything” when they were forced into temporary accommodation following a fire at their home in Chinnor, South Oxfordshire.

Friends, neighbours and members of the churches where members of the family were regular visitors described the Powells as “delightful” people.

A crowdfunding page set up by a railway worker colleague of Mr Powell’s has raised well over £125,000.

It is available at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/andrew-welsford

Anyone with dashcam footage or information about the crash is asked to contact police.