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Monday, 11 October, 1999, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Train driver celebrating son's birthday
Flowers left at Paddington
There is growing anger at the failure to introduce Automatic Train Protection
The driver of the Thames Turbo train involved in the Paddington rail disaster was returning home to celebrate his son's seventh birthday.

Mr Hodder, 31, from Tilehurst, near Reading, Berkshire, was killed in the crash.

London Train Crash
He had been driving for just two months after qualifying as a train driver.

A former sailor, he has been described by friends as a "devoted family man" who left the Royal Navy so he could spend more time with his wife Kerry and sons Callum, four, and Ben.

Ben was celebrating his seventh birthday on Tuesday and his father was hoping to be back from work in time for his party.

Mr Hodder's father David was a train driver and he decided to follow in his footsteps after a career in the Navy.

Signal 109
Mr Hodder may have missed Signal 109, which was set at red
Sally Tigar, who had known Mr Hodder since childhood, said: "He always took his job very seriously and always put his passengers first."

On Wednesday, relatives of the Great Western driver, Brian Cooper, a married man in his 50s with two children, laid flowers on a bridge overlooking the scene.

A card on one of the flowers, left by his brother, said: "My only wish is that he never suffered.

"I will miss him very much and the world is now a much sadder place."

Mr Cooper had taken over the express at Swindon after a switch.

Another of those killed was a school caretaker from Gloucestershire.

Sad news for pupils

Bob Cotton, who worked at Rednock School in Dursley, near Stroud, caught the train on his way to a meeting of his trade union, Unison, in London.

The school's head teacher John Pritchard broke the news to pupils on Wednesday.

The Mayor of Dursley, Geoffrey Wheeler, said: "It is a very close community and Bob is widely known. His loss, if that is what it is, will be very widely felt in the town. "

Inspector Mick Barton, of Gloucestershire Police, said: "An officer has been assigned to support and help the family through this very difficult and traumatic time and are in contact with the Metropolitan Police."

Meanwhile book of condolences have been opened at Didcot, Oxfordshire and Swindon, Wiltshire - both of which were stops for the Great Western train - for people to express their feelings about the victims of the crash.

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 ON THIS STORY
Video
BBC News' Mike Donkin reports on how the disaster has affected Reading
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