Merseyside’s traffic victims remembered

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A woman pays her respects by laying flowers in front of the memorial statue in St John's Gardens. Pic © JMU Journalism

A woman pays her respects by laying flowers in front of the memorial statue in St John’s Gardens. Pic © JMU Journalism

Victims of road collisions in Merseyside were remembered in a moving memorial service in St John’s Gardens on Sunday.

The event, hosted by Road Peace North West, marked the world day of remembrance of road traffic victims. Figures show that 1.24 million people are killed on the roads every year worldwide.

The service began with a speech from the organiser, Pauline Fielding from Road Peace, followed by words from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp among other dignitaries.

Five doves were released following a minute’s silence, representing the number of people that die around the country every day as a result of a road accident.

David Midmer lost his son Nathan, 22, in December 2009 when he was hit by a car. Since the death of his son he has volunteered for Road Peace, and has begun working as a driving instructor to promote cautious driving.

Mr Midmer told JMU Journalism: “You cannot get more tragic than losing your son unexpectedly, violently and suddenly. I still grieve for him and think about him every day, but at least over these past almost 14 years now, I have been able to do something positive and if I have helped save one life, it has been worthwhile.”

The theme of this year’s service was ‘Speed Kills’. The Road Peace organisation is campaigning for 20 miles per hour speed limits to be introduced in residential areas, especially near schools.

The poignant ceremony was followed by a service in St George’s Hall, where loved ones of victims that have died or been injured across the county gathered, alongside the mayors of various Merseyside boroughs.

Lord Mayor Kemp told JMU Journalism: “I think that events like today are very important for a number of reasons. It is especially important for those who have been recently bereaved that they know that they can come to an event like this where they know that actually, life can go on.

“My own father died in an aeroplane collision. My mum always said that it was a tragic and sudden death, so I think that possibly the grieving is different because it is a sudden switch.

“Wouldn’t it be lovely for a Lord Mayor in years to come to stand there and say ‘isn’t it fantastic that last year nobody died from a traffic collision on our roads throughout Merseyside?’ – we have to aspire to this.”

About Samantha Gaulter-Green, JMU Journalism