Our People. Our Stories.
Road crashes tear apart thousands of lives every year. For survivors of road crashes or families who have lost loved ones, the pain of what happened never goes away.
Here, we pay tribute to people who received life-changing injuries or whose lives were tragically cut short in road crashes. Click on each of the profile pictures below to read their story.
Amy O'ConnorIn memory of her brother, Andy Lindup, Amy O'Connor is campaigning to raise sentences for people who fail to stop after a collision when it involves serious injury or death.
When Andy Lindup was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Enfield in December 2016, it was more than two weeks until the driver was arrested. However, due to a lack of evidence at the time, the driver could only be charged with failing to stop or report the crash, and not causing death by dangerous driving. As a result, he spent just 61 days in prison.
Through this tragedy, Andy’s sister, Amy O’Connor, was introduced to Brake, and was inspired to start her own campaign to increase sentencing in hit-and-run cases.
Under current law, the maximum penalty for failing to stop or to report the crash after a crash is a prison sentence of just six months. Amy wants to change this to help secure justice for bereaved families like hers.
Amy began by creating an online petition, asking the Government to increase the sentence for people who fail to stop after a collision when it involves serious injury or death. This soon gathered more than 10,000 signatures, and prompted a Government response.
Amy was unsatisfied with the reply she was given and following several media appearances she managed to convince Andy’s local MP to arrange a meeting for her with Road Safety Minister Baroness Vere, who has agreed to speak with the Ministry of Justice about how sentences can be increased.
While Amy waits for an update from the Government, she is urging other road safety campaigners to continue fighting for their voices to be heard.
Amy said: “The pain of losing Andy will never go away but it’s important to do what we can to make sure other families are not put through the same pain I experienced. I encourage everyone to think about how they can make roads safer and to Step Up for Safe Streets this Road Safety Week.”
Angela PeacockAngela is keeping her sister Levi's memory alive by raising money for Brake.
Angela Peacock has lost three family members to road crashes. Her sister Levi Dickinson, 16, was killed on 7 February 2017, when the car she was a passenger in came off the road and hit a tree near Howden, East Riding of Yorkshire.
The driver later pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving and two counts of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
Levi’s death inspired Angela to start fundraising for Brake, to help prevent other families experiencing the same pain and heartache that she went through.
In 2017, Angela completed a coast-to-coast cycle ride from Blackpool to Scarborough, raising more than £5,000. The following year she completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk and organised a fun day afterwards, which raised over £4,000 for Brake and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
This year, she has completed a family colour fun run for the same charities again, raising just short of £3,000. This latest event involved more than 100 runners of all ages, and has been Angela’s most enjoyable fundraising experience.
In the future, Angela plans to raise more funds by climbing Mount Snowdon and completing another cycle challenge, as well as taking part in smaller events like bag packing and concerts. This Road Safety Week she is encouraging everyone to dig deep and do something to get involved in making roads safer.
Angela said: “Our aim is to keep my sister’s memory alive as well as raise money to help stop at least just one family going through the pain and heartache we did and assist Brake in getting their message out and raising awareness.
“We have a great support network and a small team behind LeviLovelife who drive our events, keep the monies coming in and the Facebook page going, and hopefully will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”
Becky FrankelBecky Frankel has made a real difference to road safety in Northumberland in memory of her daughter, Tiggy, and father-in-law, Richard.
Becky Frankel first heard about Brake the morning after her eldest daughter, Tiggy, and her father-in-law, Richard, were killed in a collision in August 2008. Richard and Tiggy had been driving on the A1 when their car went into the back of a stationary lorry that was parked in a layby on the A1 near Newcastle.
In the aftermath of the crash, Brake offered her family support and literature that she found “priceless”.
Since then Becky has become a prolific fundraiser for Brake, taking part in sponsored long-distance runs, swims and cycles, including swimming the length of the English Channel in one day.
She has also made outstanding contributions to road safety in Northumberland. In 2012, she worked with her friend, Lynn Clarke, to get the Northumberland area policy on speed limits updated, allowing villages in the region to have 20mph limits – including in her own village. She has worked with Brake to train police family liaison officers, and has helped emergency services to run education sessions in schools to train the next generation of drivers.
As a result of her hard fundraising, campaigning and voluntary work, Becky was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2016.
Becky said: “I get a huge amount out of doing the road safety education presentations and helping to train FLOs. Equally I love choosing a physical challenge that inspires me to work towards something and keeps me going. Sometimes I have to postpone taking part in an event due to injury but getting to the start line – and then hopefully the finish – in the knowledge that vital funds have been raised for such a worthwhile cause is incredibly rewarding.”
Cara PayneCara is raising money for Brake in memory of her brother, Curtis, and her uncle, Dean.
Cara Payne first became involved with Brake in November 2016 following the deaths of her brother Curtis and uncle Dean in two separate road traffic collisions.
Curtis was driving to Chigwell, Essex when control was lost on his vehicle resulting in a collision with oncoming traffic. Unfortunately Curtis lost his life as a result.
Cara began raising money for Brake to support its mission of enabling everyone to make safe and healthy journeys. She began with Road Safety Week, taking part in several fundraising events like bake sales; Cara even handed out Brake badges as favours at her wedding!
In 2017, Curtis’ friends Lee, Jack, Henry and Lizzy organised a charity football tournament at the club he captained as a memorial with proceeds going to Brake. This event was a resounding success, and the ‘Curtis Cup’ has continued to grow bigger and better each year. Two years later it has raised more than £10,000, and the organisers were invited to attend the Brake Annual Reception in the Houses of Parliament to thank them for their efforts.
In the future, Cara and Curtis’s friends plan to continue the Curtis Cup and bring people together to remember the lives of those they have lost in road crashes.
Cara said: “To others who may be considering campaigning in their communities, I would say please do it – your efforts can go a very long way. If we can make people think twice about road safety and prevent more families becoming bereaved, we are on the right track.”
Graham TyersGraham's sponsored runs and other activities have raised thousands of pounds for Brake in memory of his son, Joseph.
Like many volunteers, Graham Tyers first learned of Brake following a family tragedy. Graham’s son Joseph died in September 2014 after crashing his car on a remote rural road in Cornwall.
Graham took up running as a way to deal with his grief. As he became more aware of Brake and its activity, Graham realised he could help other people by raising financial support.
The first fundraising activity he took part in for Brake was running in a 10k race in London with some friends in Joseph’s memory. Since then, he has completed many more runs as well as taking part in sponsored abseiling, zip wires and organising concerts for charity.
Through his activity Graham has raised approximately £25,000 to support Brake’s mission of helping people affected by road crashes, and campaigning to end deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
In the last few years, Graham has got more involved in supporting Brake by representing the charity at events, and raising awareness about the charity’s work and road safety measures that could help save more lives, such as graduated driver licensing.
Graham also plans to continue raising money for Brake and claims he is always on the lookout for different fundraising opportunities, to engage more and more people.
Graham said: “The way I look at it, if my activities make just one person stop and think, or raise awareness so a pedestrian doesn’t get hit by a car then it will all have been worth it. In a wider context, I hope I can help make people aware of their responsibilities on the road.”
Imogen CautheryAfter being hit by a car aged nine, Imogen has gone on to use her passion for mountain climbing to raise much-needed money for Brake.
When Imogen Cauthery was nine years old, she was knocked down by a driver while crossing the road with her sister and best friend. The driver was using his phone at the time and did not even stop to check she was alive.
Imogen remained in a coma for 10 days and suffered long-term debilitating injuries including brain damage. Now aged 32, she still experiences epileptic seizures and her memory has been affected by the injuries she sustained.
Imogen says working with Brake has given her the confidence to take control of her life. She is a prolific fundraiser for Brake, utilising her passion for hiking to raise money that supports the charity’s work to help people affected by road crashes.
Over the last few years, Imogen has climbed Ben Nevis and completed the Three Peaks challenge, scaling all three of Britain’s highest mountains in less than 24 hours. She has raised thousands of pounds already, and is considering taking her fundraising challenge to new heights next year, by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
This Road Safety Week, Imogen is encouraging everyone to shout out for safer roads.
Imogen said: “I’m proud to have raised thousands of pounds for Brake to help them care for and support people affected by road crashes – people like me! Speaking up about my experience and shouting out for safer roads can make a real difference and has given me a renewed sense of purpose.” We can all Step Up for Safe Streets and celebrate the amazing solutions that enable everyone to make safe and healthy journeys. Imogen is already working with Brake to do this. Click here to find out why she is backing this year's campaign.
Jackie McCordJackie's campaign in memory of her daughter Cassie has led to a legal change that has made roads safer for everyone.
When Jackie McCord began campaigning on behalf of her daughter Cassie in 2011, she never expected that eight years later she would be awarded an MBE for her services to road safety.
Cassie died in 2011 after being hit by a car driven by an 87-year-old man who swerved onto the pavement. The driver had previously been involved in a crash and had been warned not to drive, but had refused to surrender his licence to police.
Jackie began a petition calling for police to be given more power to take away licences, taking to the streets with friends and families to gather support for her cause. She wrote to her MP, who pledged his support and put her in touch with a local reporter. This put her campaign in the national spotlight and helped her petition to get tens of thousands of signatures.
The campaign was picked up by government and, in 2013, ‘Cassie’s Law’ was passed, meaning police could quickly and easily apply to revoke a driver’s licence the same day that they fail a roadside eye test. To date approximately 1,200 unfit drivers have lost their licence under the legislation.
To recognise her outstanding contribution to road safety, Jackie was awarded an MBE earlier this year, which she is looking forward to accepting on behalf of her daughter. Jackie has also fundraised for Brake, taking part in charity races for friends and raising awareness of key road safety issues.
Jackie said: “The pain of losing Cassie will never leave me but it’s important that people hear my story and understand that road crashes aren’t inevitable, or acceptable. Getting Cassie’s Law introduced wasn’t easy but it was worth it, as it has helped make our roads safer. I encourage everyone to think about how they can help make our roads safer and what they can do to Step Up for Safe Streets this Road Safety Week.”
Katy RoseKaty is trying to close gaps in the crash barrier on Northumberland's A19 in memory of her mother Sonia.
Sonia Rose, was a loyal supporter of several charities including Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and an avid campaigner for causes that she believed in. Her daughter Katy believes that if effective crash barriers had been installed along the A19 near Northallerton in 2013 when initially recommended, that Sonia, a very fit and healthy 83 year old, would still be alive and campaigning today.
As Sonia was driving along the A19 to meet her walking group on 30 September 2016, a van travelling in the other direction veered across one of the many gaps in the meridian barrier and hit her car at full speed. Sonia was killed on impact.
The van driver was later diagnosed with severe sleep apnoea and was not prosecuted over the crash, so the case went straight to inquest.
Determined to bring something positive away from this tragedy, Sonia’s daughter Katy wrote to the coroner asking that the A19’s safety should be reviewed, she received an encouraging response. Katy and her brother John then started a petition and a Facebook page and people were immediately signing up to pledge their support.
After contacting her MP and meeting with Highways England, it was agreed that all unnecessary gaps in the meridian barrier would be closed. In April 2019 the gap that facilitated Sonia’s death was closed and the next gap down is currently being considered. However, there are many more that still need attention.
Katy is still campaigning to improve the A19’s safety and has a further meeting planned with Highways England and local MPs early next year.
Katy said: “The death of my mother, Sonia, broke my heart. Knowing that her death could have been prevented is what pushes me on to campaign for the A19 to be upgraded, and it’s why I’m encouraging others to Step Up for Safe Streets for Road Safety Week. No one should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one in a road crash, but by working together we can try and make sure that tragedies like mine never happen again.”
Louise GraingerDue to concerns over heavy traffic outside her children's primary school, Louise is campaigning for a pelican crossing and other road safety measures to be installed.
Last September, one of Louise Grainger’s friends was admitted to A&E after a collision outside her children’s primary school in Frimley, Surrey. This was the latest of several dangerous incidents near the school, and prompted Louise to start looking into how nearby roads could be made safer.
The road to Ravenscote Junior School has no dedicated crossing, so pupils often have to cross two lanes of busy traffic to get to school. Visibility is poor due to the high number of cars parked along the road, and the lack of parking places means some parents feel forced to park on the pavement if they want to drop their children off safely.
Louise began a petition for a pelican crossing outside the school that received more than 1,000 signatures in just one day and now sits at just under 2,000. She has also attended local council meetings with pupils from the school, which led to speed calming measures being introduced.
However, Louise feels the council has not gone far enough and is continuing to shout out about the need for safer places to cross. She has spoken out about this issue in the media and plans to continue pushing to keep it fresh in people’s minds.
She is also organising a parent rota to secure volunteer crossing patrol officers, and is hosting a protest outside the school on 20 November, during Road Safety Week.
Louise said: “I’m campaigning for a safe crossing for my local junior school because it terrifies me to see the danger that children are facing on the roads every day. Our streets should be welcoming, safe places and that’s why I’m encouraging others to join a local campaign and Step Up for Safe Streets for Road Safety Week. If we all work together, we can make sure children never have to be in danger when crossing the road.”
Monica HeaneyIn memory of her son Karl, Monica is campaigning to improve the safety of Northern Ireland's A1.
Karl Heaney, 27, was planning to move to London with girlfriend Ciara Sands when he was killed in a crash on the A1 between Banbridge and Dromore last year.
The A1 is one of the busiest roads in Northern Ireland, with tens of thousands of cars travelling on it every day. However, planned upgrades on the road have still not been finished, meaning it suffers from high levels of congestion and there are gaps in the central reservation.
A series of phased upgrades promised by the Department for Infrastructure has been underway since 2007, including a number of bypasses being built, but progress has been very slow. By 2018, the improvements had only reached phase three of the eight-stage plan.
Karl’s mother Monica is determined to help make the A1 safer for everyone. She set up a Facebook campaign group called ‘A1: How many must die?’ and launched a petition calling for the essential upgrades to be completed. This petition was handed to the Department for Transport with more than 12,000 signatures, and was used to provide evidence of the demand for the upgrades to be carried out.
Monica has asked if she can speak at the upcoming public inquiry into upgrading the A1. She has also joined Road Safe NI (Newry mourn and down committee) and has helped with talks about road safety in schools, organising poster competitions, school quizzes and spoken to drivers to maximise the reach of her campaign’s message.
Since her campaigning began in November 2018, the upgrade process has now progressed to phase five. Monica is also looking into how she can start a support group for people in Northern Ireland to enable face-to-face meetings for people bereaved by road crashes.
Monica said: “I know I can’t just wave a magic wand and it will happen overnight, but we are just trying to keep pressure on. I have found the Department for Infrastructure has been open and transparent, but getting people to sit up and listen has been challenging. We just want people to realise how important road safety is.”
Nazan FennellNazan Fennell is campaigning for safer roads in memory of her daughter Hope.
Hope Fennell was crossing the road near her school in Kings Heath, West Midlands, in November 2011 when she was hit by a lorry, trapping her underneath. The driver had been distracted by his phone and had failed to see 13-year-old Hope in the vehicle’s blind spot. By the time equipment had been found to lift the lorry, it was too late and Nazan’s teenage daughter had died.
Nazan’s campaigning began by looking into unanswered questions about Hope’s death, such as why lorries were allowed to travel on the Kings Heath High Street. She started campaigning in her community to raise awareness of the rate of lorry deaths, hosting meetings with politicians and community leaders to tell them about the danger.
Since then, Nazan has become a renowned advocate for road safety. She has organised numerous demonstrations including a mass cyclist ‘die-in’, and Birmingham’s first world day of remembrance for road crash victims. She has spoken in front of national road safety experts and has worked as an ambassador for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Nazan has also campaigned on improving lorry design and has successfully contributed to increasing the penalties for phone use while driving.
She has trained police family liaison officers, and has established regular support groups for road crash victims in the West Midlands, as she herself struggled with post-crash support and accessing information following Hope’s death.
As a result of her campaigning, the vehicle stop line on the crossing where Hope died has also been moved further back, minimising the blind spot that drivers experience. On Hope’s 18th birthday, West Midlands Police also announced a crackdown on phone-using lorry drivers.
However, Nazan still has serious concerns about the safety of roads in Kings Heath, and is calling for more investment in design-led solutions to prevent further deaths and serious injuries.
Nazan said: “The pain of losing Hope will never leave me but it’s important that people understand that road crashes aren’t inevitable, or acceptable. The solution to all this pain is providing the most-needed, up-to-date, complete and quality infrastructure to enable us all to move around safely.”
Stop Speeding in LlandogoAfter concerns were raised about drivers speeding through their village, residents of Llandogo Stepped Up for speed calming measures to be installed.
Stop Speeding in Llandogo
Residents of Llandogo, in the lower Wye Valley, began collecting speeding data a few years ago following concerns they had about the safety of the village’s road, the A466. One temporary camera had caught a vehicle travelling at 74mph in the heart of the village’s 30mph zone, and members of the community SpeedWatch group often record drivers exceeding 50 and 60mph.
This growing problem motivated the residents to step up and form a campaign group called ‘Stop Speeding in Llandogo’. The campaigners created a public petition asking for speed-calming measures to be introduced. They visited every house to raise awareness and gain signatures for a community-wide letter to the council, as well as putting up posters, gaining support from their MP and councillors, and issuing press releases to raise awareness.
In September 2018, they held a lively community surgery attended by more than 200 people, where they could directly express their concerns to authorities and vote on their favoured traffic-calming measures. This was followed by a meeting with highway engineers and agreement on a series of improvement works for Llandogo’s A466.
Eleven months later, two solar-powered speed indicators were installed. Rumble strips and road surface signs were added shortly afterwards. The campaign group welcomes these, but everyone is aware that their installation has simply brought Llandogo up to the same standard as all other villages in the area.
The key elements of Llandogo’s safety scheme are yet to be installed, and Nickie Moore, the campaign coordingator says: “We still have our work cut out, and this call to action by Brake to ‘Step Up’ couldn’t be more timely. It has given our campaign renewed impetus and, during Road Safety Week, we plan to reconnect with the authorities once again to get the next steps agreed.”
Paul SellersIn memory of his son Ollie, Paul is campaigning to close crash barriers throughout Redditch and is raising money for Brake.
Paul Sellers’ campaign for barriers to be installed on dual carriageways throughout Redditch began after his son, Ollie, died in a crash on the Coventry Highway in May 2017. Ollie’s car was hit head-on by a distracted driver who had lost control and strayed through the central reservation into oncoming traffic. Had a barrier been in place, this tragedy would not have occurred.
Paul launched a petition calling for crash barriers to be installed throughout the region. He publicised this campaign in the media, working on a film with the BBC showing the crash scene and traffic going past to raise awareness of how dangerous this stretch of road can be.
Paul’s petition was presented with 3,000 signatures to Worcester County Council in August 2017, and the council has now committed to explore installing barriers.
Alongside campaigning, Paul has often fundraised for Brake, taking part in sponsored runs and running auctions where some lots have sold for as much as £1,000. He also organises an annual charity football match, where he has personally led the teams out onto the pitch wearing one of Ollie’s shirts.
This year, Redditch Golf Club selected Brake as its charity of the year, meaning all money raised from club fundraising events will go towards helping Brake’s mission of campaigning for safe and healthy mobility for all.
For Road Safety Week 2019, Paul is encouraging everyone to Step Up for Safe Streets and campaign for safer roads in their communities.
Paul said: “The death of my son, Ollie, broke our family’s hearts. Knowing that Ollie’s death could have been prevented is what pushed me on to campaign for crash barriers to be installed throughout dual carriageways in Redditch, and it’s why I’m encouraging others to Step Up for Safe Streets for Road Safety Week. No family or friends should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child or friend in a road crash but by working together we can try and make sure that tragedies like mine never happen again.”
Sarah HarrisonSince losing her mother to a road crash in 2013, Sarah has been visiting schools to engage the next generation of drivers with road safety messages.
Sarah Harrison lost her mother, Mary, in April 2013 in a crash that occurred just yards from Mary’s front door in Bradford. The 51-year-old cook had been paying for a taxi when the cab was struck by a car that was racing with another vehicle. Mary was fatally injured, and the drivers, aged 19 and 21 at the time, were later jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.
Sarah believes that the roads are far too dangerous. In the aftermath of her mother’s death, she asked police what she could do to raise awareness of the problems on West Yorkshire roads, and was put in touch with a charity that worked with local schools.
Through the charity, Sarah has spoken to parents and teenagers to raise their awareness of road dangers and the need to be responsible for their driving behaviour. She also talks about why she believes there should be a safer licensing system for young drivers.
Alongside her work with schools, Sarah has spoken with new police family liaison officers (FLOs) about her experience with the FLO process.
Sarah said: “There’s a real need for everyone working in schools to raise awareness of road danger. I want to talk to as many people in schools as I can, especially students in secondary schools who are the next generation of drivers. I’m not from the police or council, I’m just a real person and that means my story often has a powerful impact.”
Sharon HuddlestonSharron's campaign for graduated driver licensing in memory of her daughter Caitlin is already seeing impressive results.
Sharron Huddleston believes that if a safer driver licensing system had been introduced in the UK, her daughter Caitlin would still be alive.
Caitlin (18) died in July 2017 when her friend lost control of the car they were travelling in and collided with a van on the A595 in Cumbria. Both girls died at the scene.
The coroner later ruled that the crash was caused by inexperience, and asked the government to introduce graduated driver licensing (GDL) to help protect other young drivers.
GDL lets new drivers build up their skills gradually before receiving their full licence. Introduction of this system would mean that drivers who pass their test are classed as ‘novice’ drivers’ for two years, with restrictions on when they can drive and how many passengers they can carry. GDL is already in place in many countries worldwide but has not yet been introduced in the UK.
Sharron began ‘Caitlin’s campaign’ during Road Safety Week 2018, asking the Government to introduce GDL throughout the UK. She has organised an online petitions, met with the Department for Transport to discuss why GDL is vital to UK road safety, and spoken about the need for GDL in the Houses of Parliament.
Her campaigning has led to the Government announcing in July that it will consider introducing GDL in the near future. She has also made sure 'Slow Down' signs and corner chevrons were placed at the bend in the road where the crash happened.
As well as campaigning for road safety, Sharron fundraises for Brake by participating in sponsored walks and hosting bake sales.
Sharron said: “The death of my daughter, Caitlin, broke my heart. Knowing that Caitlin’s death could have been prevented is what pushes me on to campaign for better driver licensing and why I’m encouraging others to Step Up for Safe Streets for Road Safety Week. No mother should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child in a road crash but by working together we can try and make sure that tragedies like Caitlin’s never happen again.”We can all Step Up for Safe Streets and celebrate the amazing solutions that enable everyone to make safe and healthy journeys. Sharron is already working with Brake to do this. Click here to find out why she is backing this year's campaign.
Trevor McSparronTrevor is campaigning to save one of Peterborough's most important cyclist and pedestrian thoroughfares from demolition.
Rhubarb Bridge is one of the most important parts of Peterborough’s cycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The bridge gives people who walk and cycle access across a busy dual carriageway, letting them move around in a safe and healthy way.
Trevor McSparron, a keen cyclist, grew up near Rhubarb Bridge and often used it as a child to visit friends and family in other parts of Peterborough. Since becoming a father himself, he often uses the bridge with his family.
In January 2018, Trevor was shocked to learn that Peterborough’s local authority had earmarked Rhubarb Bridge for demolition and had proposed replacing it with pedestrian crossings. He believes this would make it much less safe to move around Peterborough, and began a campaign to save the bridge.
Trevor set up social media pages calling for Rhubarb Bridge to be protected and collected more than 6,000 signatures for his petitions. He also researched the costs of repairing or replacing similar bridges in the local area and found they were a lot lower than the amount Peterborough City Council had proposed for Rhubarb Bridge.
Thanks to Trevor’s campaigning, Peterborough City Council has announced that Rhubarb Bridge will be maintained for another 10 years; pedestrian crossings will also be installed while repairs to the bridge are made. In recognition of his work, in June this year Trevor was nominated for Cycling UK’s award for an outstanding campaigning group.
Trevor said: “Our campaign has been successful in the interim, but we know that long term we will still have work to do. We will keep fighting to make sure Rhubarb Bridge remains open so that everyone can move around Peterborough safely and healthily.”