Road crash victims remembered on Princess Diana’s death anniversary
This row of empty chairs was a stark reminder the toll of carnage on Britain’s roads.
The haunting tribute came at a memorial service for road death victims in Liverpool that also marked the 14th anniversary Diana’s death.
Bereaved families and friends gathered on the steps of the city’s Anglican Cathedral where 27 empty chairs symbolised the number killed on Merseyside roads in 2010.
Five doves were also released to represent the number of people killed daily on UK roads.
The service was led by road safety campaigner Pauline Fielding, whose son Daniel was killed 17 years ago in a hit and run accident.
Paula a member of the Road Peace charity invited victims’ families to lay a single rose on each of the chairs and floral bouquets on the cathedral steps.
Dignitaries from St Helens, Knowsley and Liverpool joined Merseyside Police in paying their respects to those killed on the region’s roads.
Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Cllr Frank Prendergast said: “Road traffic deaths are the leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds.
“We have to do all we can to prevent further tragedies.”
Insp Michael McFall of Merseyside Police called for the end of the “careless actions of a few” that have devastating impact.
He said: “Last year saw the greatest number of road traffic deaths on Merseyside. We work with Road Peace and other bereavement councillors to reduce this number.
“It is the careless actions of a few that have a huge impact on families.
“They have never given-up the fight to reduce deaths on Merseyside’s roads.”
David Middleton attended the service to celebrate his son’s life, which tragically ended in a car crash near Chester in 2000.
David, from Wirral, became a driving instructor after his son’s death and said that education is the key to preventing future deaths on the roads.
He said: “Once we have education in place we can start changing people’s attitude.
“If you change attitude, what you do is then change behaviour and we can change the consequences.”
August has been designated National Road Victim Month by Road Peace, due to the high number of tragedies that occur during the school summer holidays.
On the last day of the month in 1997, Diana, the Princess of Wales, was killed in one of the most infamous car crashes in history.
Her lover, Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul were also killed inside a Paris tunnel when their car hit one of the concrete supports.
The 31st August also marks the anniversary of the first motor accident victim in history.
Scientist Mary Ward fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car in Ireland in 1869.
According to the campaigning charity 35 million people have been killed worldwide in the 114 years since then.
Road Peace Chairman Cynthia Barlow has been campaigning for more road safety and support given to victims’ families since her daughter was killed cycling to work in 2000.
She praised the work done by the charities volunteers in getting Road Peace “formally acknowledged” by the police and the government.
“We all need to work together and everybody must understand why it is in their interest and the interest of their family to prevent similar events happening in the future,” said the chairman.