CLIFTON IBBETT OBE 1937 – 2021
Clifton Ibbett was born in 1937 and joined the family business in 1956, when the Company was still involved in gravel extraction, house building and farming. In 1967, having actively and very successfully developed the farming business, Clifton took over the running of the group of companies. Over the next 30 years Clifton was responsible for growing and developing the Bedfordia Group from its small beginnings into a large, well-respected and diverse entity – still firmly based in Bedfordshire but by now with representation and trading activities right across the country. Clifton was a founder trustee of the Road Victims Trust (then called the Road Traffic Service) in 1995 and has been involved ever since, for much of the time as Chair of Trustees.
Road Victims Trust founder and Trustee for over 26 years sadly passed away in May 2021. In his words, here is the story of why and how the Road Victims Trust was founded.
I was involved right from the beginning when, a couple of years after my two daughters had been killed in a fatal road collision on December 23rd 1982, I was at a Black Tie function in the town. I happened to be sitting next to and opposite the then Director of Victim Support and the then Deputy Chief Constable – and the conversation somehow got around to how did I cope with the loss of my two daughters? I explained that I and my then wife had tremendous support from friends and relations.
I count myself very fortunate to have had very supportive parents, a reasonably strong Christian faith, many friends connected with the church, many friends and business colleagues and not in any way to belittle them many Just Friends. It was an amalgam of all these people with their many and different backgrounds and life experiences which helped us through the first 7-8 months up to the time when my wife left me in July 1983.
After my wife left my son John – then 21 – and I looked after each other. On one very cold February evening in 1984 we both arrived at the back door together. John had had a particularly bad day at work, and he broke down and said “you and mum had a lot of support when the girls had their collision, but nobody realised I had lost my sisters“
As a consequence of recounting this in the conversation it was decided something formal should be set up and we arranged a further meeting – which for a multitude of reasons did not take place for over a year. Eventually it was decided we would start something under the auspices of Victims Support and with the active involvement of the police. A meeting was held to which the great and the good of the county were invited, along with interested family members of recently bereaved persons.
The first office location was in a portacabin in the Bedford Road police station. It then moved to the Victim Support premises in Kempston, and we received great support and encouragement from the Director. It soon became apparent that we did not fit with Victim Support national procedures and in spite of the best efforts of the team we could not get a sustainable working arrangement. Thus the Road Victims Trust was born and the rest from then on has been a real success story.