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Eddie Stobart truck not being named after Connor Sparrowhawk

Connor Sparrowhawk Image copyright JusticeforLB
Image caption Connor Sparrowhawk died at a Southern Health facility

The mother of a teenager who died at an NHS unit has said she is "gutted" that Eddie Stobart will not name one of its trucks after him.

Connor Sparrowhawk had epilepsy and drowned in a bath after suffering a seizure in Oxford in 2013.

Campaigners appealed to Eddie Stobart to name a truck after him as the 18-year-old "loved the company" and collected memorabilia.

But the company said it only gave its trucks female names.

Connor's mother Dr Sara Ryan said her son was "an ideal exception to the rule, even though I think the rule is ridiculous".

She added: "They shouldn't have women-only names, that's so archaic.

"Certain people in this country are treated so badly, so consistently, and in full view, that this was an opportunity for a company to just step up and say 'We're going to make this young man's dreams come true' and it wouldn't have been a big deal for them. That's what I don't get."

Image caption Dr Sara Ryan says the firm should name a truck after her son Connor Sparrowhawk

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws over Connor's death.

In March last year, it was fined £2m after it admitted failing Connor and Teresa Colvin, 45, who died in Hampshire in 2012.

The cases led to the discovery the trust only properly investigated 272 unexplained deaths of 722 in its care.

The campaign to name a truck after Connor was inspired by a tweet by the transport company, which asked people who they would pick for a new name.

Hundreds of replies suggested Connor was the most worthy candidate.

An Eddie Stobart spokesman said: "It has been great to see and hear all the love and support shown to Connor.

"We know that he was a huge fan of Eddie Stobart, and while it's not our policy to name the trucks after males, we would like to pay tribute to him in the next issue of our official Stobart members magazine, Spot On.

"We hope this will help to raise awareness about this important matter."

But Dr Ryan pointed out that Eddie Stobart trucks had on special occasions been named after men.

"They've had Lee Rigby, he died in terrible circumstances too, and had his life cut short.

"There's a strong case for Connor. He loved the company. Even in the [NHS] unit he had the boxsets of the TV series. He was buried with an Eddie Stobart lorry.

"The world's not going to fall apart if they have another boy's name on their truck."

At the 2015 naming ceremony of the Lee Rigby truck, an Eddie Stobart spokeswoman said it was "only the second time a truck has been named after a man", with motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi the first, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Commercial Motor said the haulier also named a truck after Transformers character Optimus Prime.

The BBC has approached Eddie Stobart for comment.

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