Our Community Ambassadors play a vital role in representing the Road Victims Trust at local events and functions, speaking about our work and the importance of the funds our supporters raise.
My involvement with the Road Victims Trust came as the result of the sudden death of my younger brother, Archie, in December 2012. At the time, we were both students at The University of Warwick; I was in my second year and Archie had just started. In the immediate aftermath, the Trust provided my family with unwavering and invaluable support at a time when it seemed to all involved that the inexorable sense of despair would take hold. As a result of this, I feel very much indebted to the Trust. In order to repay their kindness to my family, James Rawstorne and I decided to organise a gruelling cycle in order to raise funds. In August 2014, we cycled 150 miles from Whitehaven to Sunderland, raising £25,000.
I have now graduated from Warwick, and am in full-time employment. Mark and I have recently been in talks about my undertaking of an ambassadorial role with the Trust, a position which I am delighted to accept. My objective is to extend the reach of the charity through social media platforms, with a particular focus on drawing in a younger demographic. By increasing public awareness and the profile of the Trust, I aim to increase financial and practical support for this
The Chapman Family
It all started on that fateful day, 27th December 2009. We got a call saying our son had been involved in an accident. We were taken to the hospital by the police to discover that he had been killed in a road traffic accident. Our nightmare then began.
We actually discovered The Road Victims Trust by accident, as after reading some of the literature received from the police, it advised us to go to a solicitors. Ray went to local solicitors in Baldock and the lady he spoke with there asked if we had been in contact with RVT. Up until this point we had never heard of them - and so our RVT journey began.
It is easier to talk to a stranger because you know talking to family and friends will upset them. Without the charity I think I would be a mess. The counselling takes the burden away because you can talk and it is in total confidence. When we got the dates for the inquest, the counsellor took us over to the coroner’s court just so we knew what to expect.
We had continual visits for about 2 years during which time we could actually talk about our son without bursting into tears. We all then came to a mutual agreement that we were now able to carry on with day to day life, but were also told that we could contact RVT if we felt that we were not coping.
Without the valuable support of RVT we do not know where we would be now.
The Huckle Family
Wednesday 16 July 2014 began as any other day for the Huckle family. Alan, Denise and their two daughters, Tanya and Kayleigh, each left for work in the morning as usual with their customary goodbyes. That was the last time they’d all be together as a family. Later that day, Alan was killed in a road traffic accident. Tanya, their elder daughter, explains what happened.
At around 7.30pm, my mobile rang and I was really confused when it was the police. At first, I thought someone might have stolen my car, but when the policeman said, ‘You need to come home, your mum needs you,’ I began to worry. I immediately thought of Dad as he’d gone out on his bike but the policeman wouldn’t elaborate. The 40-minute drive home was the longest journey ever and I’m so grateful to my friends who drove me and kept me company. I kept thinking Dad might have been involved in an accident and my friends were trying to keep me calm, saying all the right things to reassure me.
The police liaison officer mentioned that the Road Victims Trust might be able to help us and gave us a pack called ‘Brake’ to go through when we were ready. A couple of months went by before Mum contacted the Road Victims Trust. She had gone back to work a few weeks previously as a preschool teacher, which had helped a little, but all three of us felt that we needed some guidance with coming to terms with the shock of what had happened to Dad.
Kayleigh and I had weekly hour-long sessions for about a year and Mum continued for 18 months. In January 2015, our counsellors attended the inquest on our behalf, which we feel was above and beyond their remit, but they put themselves through it for us, in order to answer any questions that we might have later on.
The counselling sessions weren’t all about Dad; they were a safe place where I could discuss how life was going in general – sometimes I would get emotional or irate about things that had never bothered me before, which I was assured was a normal part of the healing process.
Following the counselling I received, the Road Victims Trust has asked if we would be ambassadors for the charity, attend events and share our story with others to get its message across. We were happy to help as I’m not sure where we’d be if we had not been living in this area with access to all the free counselling we received. The volunteers are totally unpaid and want to help families through the worst times of their lives. And this is why we’re helping to raise money for them too.
Kate has been an Ambassador of the Road Victims Trust since September 2017. She has received the support of the Trust since August 2016 when the 2 vehicles in which her children were travelling were involved in a collision with an HGV. Her 11 year old daughter, Aimee, was killed instantly along with her friends Josh, Ethan and their mother Tracy.
Speaking about the support received from the Trust, Kate says, “Frankly, I do not see how it could have been possible without the strength of support around us holding our hands every step of the way. In memory of Aimee and to continue to protect my son Jake’s future, I will strive to do anything I can to reduce that growing risk on our roads and work towards ensuring the RVT are fully supported as a charity so they may continue providing strength and support to us when we need it.”