RoadPeace remembrance service Liverpool Cathedral. Photo: RoadPeace
The North West branch of RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, is inviting those who have been bereaved or injured through road crashes and those who support them, to an online remembrance event, starting at 2pm on Tuesday, 31 August.
In the UK, provisional results from the Department for Transport show 1,472 people were killed and there were 115,333 casualties in 2020.
Speakers at the RoadPeace service include Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Merseyside’s Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and there will be a moving performance from the St Nicholas Singers, from Liverpool Parish Church.
The service was filmed in front of an art installation in the cathedral called the Peace Doves, by sculptor and artist Peter Walker.
The installation features 18,000 paper doves suspended on 15.5 miles of ribbon from the ceiling of the cathedral.
August is national road victim month. Photographs and tributes to loved ones who have died will be shown as part of the service.
The remembrance takes place on the 24th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a road crash.
The service usually takes place in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral but due to the pandemic it will now take place online and can be viewed on RoadPeace’s YouTube Channel.
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, took part in the remembrance and said: “Whilst nothing can take away the pain and suffering from losing a loved one in a road crash, RoadPeace’s annual remembrance service is an important opportunity to come together to show our support for the families who have been tragically affected.
“Whilst once again we can’t meet in person, the poignant message of this service is no less important.
“Crucially, it reminds us of our shared responsibility to work together to prevent other families from enduring the same loss in the future.
“Improving safety is one of my policing priorities and, working with all our partners, I am committed to continuing to reduce the number of people who lose their life or suffer life-changing injuries on our roads. Together we can reduce the number of crashes on our roads and make them safe for everyone.”
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Mary Rasmussen, who took part, said: “Every road traffic collision has a massive impact, not just on those involved but their wider family and friends, as well as the emergency services and the NHS.
“This service is hugely important in raising awareness of the consequences of road collisions as well as recognising the valuable work of RoadPeace North West in supporting bereaved families and campaigning for better road safety.”
Merseyside’s Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, who also took part in the service said: “It was truly a privilege to be involved in this service, and I was incredibly moved to meet the families of people who have tragically lost their lives in collisions.
“This annual event allows us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the lives lost to road traffic collisions, and show our support for their loved ones. I want to express my gratitude to RoadPeace for organising the event, and for the vitally important work they do all year round.
“The day of remembrance also serves as a sobering reminder of the devastating impact collisions on our roads have had across Merseyside, and only strengthens our resolve to continue working with partners and the community to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads and spare other families such pain.”
Over half a million people have been killed in crashes in Britain since the first road death in 1896 and the current annual global death toll is estimated by the World Health Organization to be at 1.35 million deaths.
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, 27 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.”
If you have been affected by a crash and would like to speak to RoadPeace’s support team, the helpline number is 0845 450 0355. You can find out more about the organisation by visiting www.roadpeace.org.