Friends and family pay tribute to former Robert Smyth pupil James Burton

Team Jim wearing number 4 worn by James.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Team Jim wearing number 4 worn by James. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The 20-year-old fiancee of former Robert Smyth pupil James Burton, who died after a road accident, has told the Mail: “I feel like my whole world has been ripped out from underneath me.”

Jaydean Neal, from Desborough, said she and James were due to be married on August 28 at St Giles church in Desborough. “Everything was arranged” she said. “We’d been together for over two years, and we just clicked. We were living together in Desborough. It was always me and him. We did everything together.”

Minute silence in memory of Jim Burton before the game at Harborough Town Football Club.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Minute silence in memory of Jim Burton before the game at Harborough Town Football Club. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

James (24) died in hospital after an accident on the A14 in Northamptonshire on Tuesday, April 5, at about 11.15am.

His van was in a collision with an articulated lorry on the eastbound carriageway of the A14, between junction 1 at the A5199 and junction 2, at the A508 Market Harborough to Northampton road.

James was a keen footballer, playing most recently for Medbourne. His friends organised a memorial football game for him in Market Harborough at the weekend.

One of the friends, Jordan Drew, said: “James was awesome - the most genuine, nice lad, who would do anything for his mates and for others.

Captains Lee Thomas and Adam Green with James Burton's fiancee Jaydean Neal before the game. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Captains Lee Thomas and Adam Green with James Burton's fiancee Jaydean Neal before the game. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“The charity football match was just an occasion for us all to get together prior to the funeral, and remember Jim.”

The match has so far raised £880 for the local Air Ambulance organisation.

Jaydean said James had rung her at around 11am on the day of the accident, to say he would be home for lunch.

“I had a gut feeling something was wrong because he was late” she said.

Back, Team Jim, and front, Little Bowden

Back, Team Jim, and front, Little Bowden

“And then two policemen knocked on my door...”

Jaydean, an estate agent, said she was determined to try to carry on with her life, on behalf of herself and James.

“I loved him more than anything else in the world” she said.

“And all my family are deeply saddened too - they treated him like part of the family from the day they met him.

“Now I just want to be happy, carefree and fearless, because you never know what’s round the corner.”

Jordan said that all the players in Sunday’s charity football match had at one point been in a team with James.

“There were 30 grown lads standing round in a circle, sniffling” he said.

He thanked Harborough Town FC for lending the group their facilities.

There’s a justgiving page in memory of James Burton at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/
Jamesburton