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A moving scene for bereaved families

PUBLISHED: 12:52 26 November 2010

Sheriff of Norwich Derek James attends a moving ceremony to remember people who have lost their lives on our roads.

It was in London of 1896 when Bridget Driscoll was hit and killed by a “horseless carriage.” She was the first fatal road victim. At her inquest the coroner said: “We must ensure this tragedy is never repeated.”

Last Sunday I was in Norwich Cathedral as those who have lost loved ones on our roads laid oak leaves around the base of the Easter Candle.

It was an honour for my wife Bridgette and I, along with Lord Mayor Tom Dylan, to be part of this moving service. The RoadPeace in East Anglia service, part of a World Day of Remembrance, was conducted by the Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Graham Smith, who spoke for us all when he said: “We come to stand in solidarity and companionship with those whose lives have been changed by the death or injury of family members and friends in road traffic crashes.

“We share their grief and offer ourselves to befriend, support and encourage them as their lives continue.

“We come because this Day of Remembrance creates a link between victims of road crashes around the world.

“We remember them, and, as we do, we commit to a culture of road safety, respect and responsibility towards every road user.”

Grief and pain can be very isolating; though so many are affected by road crashes, it can seem as if no-one else really knows or understands their sorrow.

To share that sorrow and learn that others feel the same can bring both encouragement and release.

Father James Walsh, Dean of St John’s Catholic Cathedral, also took part in the service along with Marty Royal, of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Ch Supt Bob Scully of Norfolk Constabulary, William Armstrong, the Norfolk Coroner and Nigel Williams and Andy Fry, chief fire officer for Norfolk and Suffolk.

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