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Saturday, October 9, 1999 Published at 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK


Train crash advert withdrawn

Flowers for victims from Reading, where the advert was seen

A hard-hitting advert for life insurance has been withdrawn amid angry protests following the Paddington train crash.

The AXA Sun Life advert showing a young boy waiting for his parents at a railway station, asking how he would cope if they died, appeared inside a Friday newspaper.

A spokesman for Reading Council, one of the towns worst hit by the crash, said survivors were "terribly shocked" by it.

The advert had been inserted in the ES magazine distributed with Friday's London Evening Standard, a newspaper read by many commuters.

It had also been used in a local newspaper sold in Reading.

In the ad, a small boy clutching a schoolbag and sucking his thumb is shown standing in front of a train.

Above him a slogan says: "It's not the end of his world if you're a bit late....but if you die?"


The Reading spokesman said the advert was "at best unfortunate".

Many survivors had carried on with their daily commute to London as a way of dealing with the accident, he said.

Any of them seeing Friday's paper would inevitably be shocked.

Up to 50 people who died or are missing in the crash were thought to have come from Reading.

Axa Sun Life said insurance campaigns had to be hard-hitting to attract customers but in the light of this week's accident, the firm had tried to pull the campaign originally planned during the summer.

The company said it deeply regretted what had happened and would ensure it was not seen again.

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