Success of charity helps create sporting legacy for son after tragic crash
- Credit: Archant
Despite the horrific loss of her son in a freak crash, a Suffolk mother has told how she has kept his memory alive through a charity which has helped some 140 children in its first few months.
Chris Merchant, aged just 28, was one of four people killed in a two-car crash in west Suffolk, near Mildenhall.
The larger-than-life character, known as Blerch to friends, was a keen sportsman, and it was this that inspired his family to set up a charity in his name.
The Blerch Sporting Foundation has since had a remarkable 2016, with its success in helping dozens of children to take up a whole range of sports helping his mother, Sue Lyes, turn her tragic loss into something Chris would be proud of.
'It has been mind-blowing,' she said.
You may also want to watch:
'The support we have had has been incredible, but I never imagined we would have this much success by now.
'We have never done anything like this before and I feel like we are just feeling our way through it, but at the end of the day it seems to pay off.'
- 1 New women's only fitness studio to open in Norwich
- 2 Two Norfolk gastropubs named among best in country
- 3 Teen opens American sweet shop in town
- 4 Chance to have your say over 4,000-home development
- 5 Driver who died in A47 crash had medical episode
- 6 The Chase star's tribute to contestant who died in Norfolk house fire
- 7 School bus drivers 'risked children's lives' with illegal long shifts
- 8 Plans to open McDonald's on outskirts of town in 2022
- 9 Farke hammers Tzolis for penalty antics in City defeat
- 10 'Very high risk' paedophile who groomed 12-year-old has sentence doubled
She spoke of children who, thanks to the charity, have been able to try sports which their parents may not have been able to afford, with some going on to earn paid-for scholarships at dance schools or take up sport regularly.
Chris was a passenger in a BMW car driven by Matthew Grant, 24, along the B1103 Freckenham Road, near Worlington, when they were in collision with a Hyundai driven by John Dyal, 77, with his wife, Helen, 75. All four died.
The charity, which started after an outpouring of support, saw thousands of pounds raised for Chris's family, was launched in June 2016, a year after the crash.
'It is just a stepping stone for children to get that chance to try sports,' said Mrs Lyes.
'It's something really positive for us out of such an awful time.'
If you live in the Mildenhall area you can find out more about the charity, donate, or enquire about funding for your child by visiting www.blerchsportingfoundation.co.uk