I never knew one of my Auntie’s. My mum’s eldest sister was killed by a drunk driver more than 50 years ago. She was only 21 and I never had the opportunity to get to know her. As a child I didn’t know much about this but as I got older I understood what had happened and the affect it had on the whole of the family.
When I had the chance to go and see the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ event in Middleton today it had added poignancy for me. As I listened to the real life personal stories of people who had their lives dramatically affected by dangerous driving. I had an open mind about the event and wondered whether the young people would listen to the emergency services and victims talking about their stories. But they did, they were increasingly quiet and many became emotional.
The event is quite unusual. It is open to schools and colleges and is a huge investment of time from emergency services, the NHS and schools. These kind of presentations were quite common when I was younger. I vividly remember the fire officers coming to primary school and telling us about the dangers of fireworks. It is more than 30 years ago but because of the shocking nature of it I can still see it as clearly today.
Today’s event was similarly shocking with police, fire, ambulance and the accident and emergency doctor all giving people an insight into what they have to deal with when faced with road traffic accidents. However, it was the heartbreaking story told by the father whose son had died in an accident on the roads that was the most emotional. It was raw personal emotions that came through in every word that he spoke.
I can only hope that the young people at the event may remember it for years to come in the way I still remember the dangers of fireworks and fire. For me personally, it brought home to me the trauma that my family had experienced all those years ago. But I will always remember the Auntie I never had a chance to know.