Families whose lives have been affected by road crashes across Merseyside are being urged to share photos and memories of their loved ones as part of a special online remembrance service.
RoadPeace NW is inviting those who have been bereaved or injured through road crashes, together with those who support them, to an online remembrance event on Monday, 31 August, starting at 2pm.
The service usually takes place in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral but due to the pandemic it will now take place online and will be available on YouTube at the time the service in the cathedral should have taken place. The YouTube link will be sent to those who have submitted a dedication, as well as being available on the website www.roadpeace.org closer to the time.
During the service, photographs of loved ones who have died in road crashes will be shown. Anyone who would like a photograph of a loved one included in the service, please email the photograph with their name, dates and a short tribute to [email protected] as soon as possible and by Monday 24t August.
The remembrance takes place on the 23rd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in a road crash. RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, welcomes the focus from the media and the Royal Family of the lifelong impact of road crashes on the family and friends of those killed. 31st August also marks the anniversary of the world's first motor vehicle death, that of Mary Ward in Ireland in 1869.
Britain's first road death also occurred in August, when Bridget Driscoll was killed at Crystal Palace on August 17 1896, with the coroner pronouncing: “This must never happen again”. Since then, over half a million people have been killed in crashes in Britain and the current annual global death toll is estimated at 1.35 million deaths. In this country 1,748 people were killed and 25,975 seriously injured in 2019.
Pauline Fielding, a trustee of RoadPeace and event organiser, believes remembrance plays a vital role in reminding society about the number of victims and highlighting the long term psychological impact on those bereaved and injured in road crashes.
She said: “My son Andrew was killed in a road crash, caused by a driver who did not stop and who was never traced. Since that day, 26 years ago, I have been fighting for justice for him and to reduce dangers on the road where he died, to help prevent others also experiencing the loss of a loved one. The day Andrew died changed my life and that of so many others. I was helped emotionally and practically by RoadPeace and so I urge all those bereaved or injured by road crashes, together with those who support us, to join us in remembering our loved ones and in raising awareness to help prevent further death and injury. We are thankful to the emergency services, all those who support us and to those who are working hard to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Road crashes shatter lives. Each and every one brings heartache and suffering to the lives of those involved, as well as their families and loved ones.
“While this year’s service of remembrance has had to be moved online, its poignant message is no less important. It is a reminder that we all have a responsibility to support those whose worlds have been devastated by a road traffic crash. It is also important to renew our commitment to making our roads safer, to prevent other families suffering the same pain and loss.
“If we all work together we can reduce the number of crashes on our roads and make them safer for future generations. My thanks, as always, go to all those from the emergency services who are working so hard to prevent collisions and are often the first on the scene when they do take place, providing care and help in those critical first minutes.”
Sarah English, who is the Safer Roads Unit Co-ordinator for The Mersyside Road Safety Partnership, said: “The Merseyside Road Safety Partnership is committed to reducing the numbers of those killed or seriously injured on the roads of Merseyside. Whilst we can’t physically be together at this time of remembrance, we are grateful to the wonderful work of RoadPeace in uniting us online to support those who have experienced the devastation caused by a collision.
By working together we can look forward to a safer roads environment for those living, working or visiting our wonderful region. This shared responsibility gives us a real goal to aim towards and drives the work we do each and every day.
We are honoured to support RoadPeace and will continue to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.”
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ann Rothery, who will speak at the online ceremony, said: “Whilst nothing can take away the pain and anguish of losing a loved to a road crash, events such as this one organised by RoadPeace may provide a positive message so that other families do not suffer that same pain and anguish others have endured.
"Road traffic collisions are responsible for the death or maiming of many people each year. Last year across Merseyside there were almost 500 fatalities and serious injuries. The highest number of casualties are amongst those groups classed a vulnerable, including older people and the very young.
"Liverpool City Council is an active member of the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership and we work together to combat the number of deaths and serious injuries in our region. Together we are looking at new and innovative ways to engage with road-users, this includes encouraging all road-users to sign a pledge to support the partnership and help reduce the number of casualties across the region. The city council recognises the valuable work undertaken by RoadPeace in supporting bereaved families and their tireless campaign for justice."
If you would like to watch the service of remembrance, please visit www.roadpeace.org and click on 'Watch Liverpool Ceremony of Remembrance'.