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Christmas crash tragedies inspire renewed Norfolk safety drive

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:54 07 January 2013

Police accident

Police accident

©Archant Photographic 2010

A tragic Christmas on Norfolk’s roads, with accidents claiming nine lives during the last month, has prompted a renewed recruitment drive for highway safety volunteers.

Crash victims aged from seven to 87 have died in six accidents around the county since December 14, with the most recent fatality near Thetford on Friday.

In the wake of the shocking loss of life, Norfolk County Council’s road safety team is urging more people to sign up to help deliver road safety training in their communities to prevent further tragedies.

The volunteer drive, which is part of the wider road safety campaign named Keep Your Mind On The Road, was launched in November and has so far seen 57 people offer their services.

Alec Byrne, chairman of the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, said he hoped more would now be inspired to follow them.

He said: “This has been one of the worst Christmases on Norfolk’s roads in living memory and we are stressing the need for further volunteers to pass on the road safety message.

“Our current team of volunteers do an excellent job but with the assistance of more people signing up to deliver road safety advice, we can help prevent the kind of accidents that have happened recently.

“The support volunteers give can make all the difference and the work they do complements the valued road safety work that the council delivers right across Norfolk.”

The schemes current advertising campaign uses existing road safety volunteers to promote the message, such as Sophie de Winton, a working mother from Brancaster who delivers about 15 hours of cycle training each year around her village.

All new volunteers will be trained and accompanied on the training sessions, which includes child car seat checking, workshops for younger drivers and teaching cycling and pedestrian safety to children.

The overall aim is to encourage communities in Norfolk to take collective action to help make their roads safer, by helping to educate fellow residents.

The death of a woman on the B1107 at Thetford on Friday was the ninth fatality on the region’s roads in less than a month.

Sisters Jessica Portor, seven, and sister Tamzin, 10, from Sutton Bridge, were the youngest victims. They died in a crash on the A47 near Walsoken on December 27, in which their 12-year-old brother Liam and 38-year-old father Allan Portor were also injured along with the 43-year-old woman driving the car.

On Christmas Eve, great grandparents John Knight, 77, and wife Patricia, 76, died in a crash on the A47 at Wendling while travelling from Leicester to visit their son in Dereham.

Sixteen-year-old Andrew Oakley died in a two-vehicle crash on the B1077 at Shelfanger near Diss, last weekend and a woman, thought to be in her 70s, died in a three-vehicle crash at Ingoldisthorpe at about 5pm on the Lynn Road on Sunday.

On December 14, Ernest Sneath, 87, and wife Ellen, 84, of Fakenham Road, Taverham, crashed as they were travelling in Hall Lane, Drayton.

Mr Sneath died on December 15 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital followed by his wife on December 19.

Road safety volunteers can register their interest by visiting or calling 0344 800 8020. Volunteering can be shaped around an individual’s lifestyle and commitments.

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