Road campaigner fund-raises for Norwich memorial service

A passionate road safety campaigner is fund-raising for an annual memorial service which brings comfort to bereaved families across Norfolk.

The emotional service supports people whose lives have been devastated by the loss or serious injury of a loved one following a car crash in the county.

Around 500 people attended the event at Norwich Cathedral last year and a poignant display of photographs and personal details about the crash victims was created.

Organisers Liz Voysey and Bridget Wall, who both lost children in crashes, hope to reach an even greater number of families by advertising more extensively this year.

Mrs Voysey, a representative of the RoadPeace and Brake charities, has planned a fund-raising gig at Dereham Football Club in October to cover some of the rising costs involved.

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The campaigner, from Dereham, first attended the service six years ago after her 19-year-old daughter, Amy Upcraft, was killed by a speeding van driver on the A47 at North Tuddenham in 2004.

'People can feel very isolated and they feel like they are the only one,' she said. 'It's a comfort for people to realise they are not on their own and it gives people the chance to be with people who completely understand. The service is about bringing people together, but it also highlights the seriousness of what happens on our roads.

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'The number of people attending the service has risen from 40 to 500 since it started We usually have a collection, but the service is really something we want to give these families as a gift.'

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, on every third Sunday of November, was first observed by RoadPeace in 1993.

It was endorsed by the United Nations as a global day in 2005 and events such as the Norwich service will be held around the globe on November 20.

Mrs Voysey has been campaigning for tougher action on drivers who cause fatal crashes since the man behind Amy's crash was given only a �300 fine and seven penalty points on his licence.

'We are brought up to believe that if you take the life of another person you will be punished, but when it's a road death the same rules of justice are not applied,' she said.

As part of her volunteer work, Break also refers bereaved families to Mrs Voysey for support following fatal crashes.

'In the initial stages, you think you will never survive the loss of your child,' she said. 'I don't offer advice, I just listen, empathise and understand what they are saying.'

The fund-raising gig, featuring The Mojo Band from Norwich, will be held at Dereham FC, in Norwich Road, from 7.30pm on Saturday, October 1.

Tickets, costing �5, can be reserved by calling Mrs Voysey on 01362 697617. Raffle prizes are also being sought for the event.

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