ROAD safety campaigners in Liverpool will pay a poignant tribute to victims of road crashes everywhere this Friday with a special service of remembrance at Liverpool Cathedral.
On average five people die each day on the nation’s roads and to mark this, campaigners with victim charity RoadPeace will release five doves in the cathedral grounds at the service to be held on Friday 31 August.
The service will also coincide with the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who lost her life following a crash in the Pont de l’Alma underpass, Paris, in 1997.
The day has a special resonance for RoadPeace because August 31 is also the day of the death of the world’s first ever road victim, Mary Ward, who was killed in Ireland in 1869.
In a chilling series of coincidences, Britain’s first ever road victim, Bridget Driscoll, was also killed in August 1896 in Crystal Palace. At the inquest into her death, the coroner pronounced; “this must never happen again”.
August has been designated as National Road Victim Month by RoadPeace.
Friday’s service of remembrance will take place at The Lady Chapel, at Liverpool Cathedral and will start at 2pm.
Charity trustee and Liverpool event organiser Pauline Fielding believes remembrance plays a vital role in reminding society about the number of victims and highlighting the long-term psychological impact of those bereaved and injured in road crashes.
Pauline 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, 24 years ago, I have been fighting for justice for him and to have the road where he died made safer, to 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 at the remembrance and raise awareness to help prevent further death or injury on our roads. We are thankful to those who help and support us and to those who are working hard to reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
Guests of honour at Friday’s service will include Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Peter Brennan, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley.
Cllr Brennan said: “We must never forget those who have suffered and died as a result of road crashes in Liverpool. It is vitally important that we keep their memory alive through events such as this one. Road crashes have a devastating effect, not just on the victims and their families but on entire communities. Everyone has a role to play in making our roads safer. If we all work together we can reduce the number of crashes on our roads and make them safer for future generations.”
ACC Critchley said: “It is an honour to attend this service, which is a vitally important reminder of the devastating impact that road traffic collisions cause within communities across Merseyside and beyond.
“Our commitment to making our roads safer and reducing serious incidents is absolute, working with our partners, communities and road-users alike.”
Commissioner Kennedy added: “Every death or serious injury on the roads of Merseyside is one too many. Each and every one brings suffering and misery to those who are involved, their families, friends, and the wider community.
“Each year, this poignant service gives us the opportunity to remember all those who have tragically lost their lives or suffered as a result of collisions on our roads. The Deputy Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, and I are proud to attend this event and show our solidarity and support with all those affected by these tragedies, as RoadPeace does all year round.
“Today, is also an opportunity to thank those within the emergency services who work to prevent road collisions and are often first on the scene, providing care and help, when they do take place.”
RoadPeace has a special helpline number: 0845 4500 355 and you can find out more about the organisation by visiting: roadpeace.org