October 23 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Friday, June 27, 2014
Brave mum Karen Seaward has completely changed her life in a determined bid to stay positive following the tragic death of her teenage daughter Martha.
Mrs Seaward, 44, has dyed her hair pink and had eyebrow piercings.
And both she and husband John have had their first tattoos, in memory of Martha, 15, one of their nine children ranging in age from 25 to four.
Mrs Seaward has also given up her old lifestyle, opening an ethnic and vintage clothing and accessories shop in Sheringham with friend Debs Winchester.
The Courtyard shop, which also sells New Age products and handmade items by local craftsmen and women, is called Yolo’s, after Martha’s favourite phrase. It stands for “You Only Live Once”.
“Martha would have loved it. She was such an enthusiastic and positive person and if she had the chance to do anything new she would say ‘Yolo’,” said Mrs Seaward.
Sheringham High School pupil Martha was killed on January 10 when she was in collision with a lorry on the A148, near the entrance to Sheringham Park.
“I saw a TV programme about when you lose a child and someone said: ‘I think you have to go a bit mad to survive,’” said Mrs Seaward, of Coronation Road, Holt.
“I was a middle-aged, boring mama previously but age is just a number.
“We have got to live Martha’s life for her and we have got to be positive and upbeat, or how can our children get through it?”
She had been at work in Holt’s Budgens store when her husband John, 54, and a police officer arrived to break the news about Martha.
Budgens’ owner Michael Baker had shown great kindness and consideration throughout but Mrs Seaward said she felt she could not return.
When Ms Winchester gave up her own previous job, the friends decided to open a shop and had signed a lease within three weeks of the idea.
“We’re ’70s babies and love that hippy era,” said Ms Winchester, 43.
The shop will also host Monday special events in the courtyard outside, including psychic readings by Norwich medium Andrew Clack.
Mrs Seaward said support shown to the family following their devastating loss had been “fantastic”, including West Beckham’s Wheatsheaf pub, where Martha had worked.
The pub had hosted her post-funeral farewell gathering, and a party on June 13 to mark what would have been her 16th birthday.
Sheringham High was planning a Martha’s Garden memorial tribute and the Links golf club at West Runton had raised money for Martha’s headstone.
Several members of the Seaward family play at the club where the couple’s son William, 23, is greenkeeper.
“Words can’t describe the horror of what happened but people have been wonderful to us,” said Mrs Seaward.
She also thanked the police for their great kindness, which included closing roads to enable the large family funeral cortege to travel together, and the fire service who attended the accident, and later held a fund-raiser towards the cost of Martha’s memorial stone.