Victims of accidents support campaign

An open day full of fire drills and thrills came with a stark message at the weekend - there are too many crashes on our roads, especially involving young people.

An open day full of fire drills and thrills came with a stark message at the weekend - there are too many crashes on our roads, especially involving young people.

The message, at King's Lynn fire station's open day, was especially poignant from 18-year-old Jodie Norman, who for the past year has been in a neck brace because of a horrific crash.

She suffered multiple injuries, including several breaks in her neck, eye sockets, skull and arm and, without an operation to pin her neck, would never be allowed to drive again.

All because the car she was in was not being driven carefully on the A149 near Castle Rising last July, days before her 17th birthday.

She is having to retake a year of her A-levels and will have to go through an operation to have her necked pinned because it has not healed itself.

But she was lucky to survive.

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Jodie, from King's Lynn, said: "People need to take care; there are other drivers on the road. My driver thought he was the only driver on the road, he thought he could do what he liked at whatever speed. They think they are invincible."

The driver was later convicted of driving without due care and attention.

Campaigner Jackie Warby, from Stow Bridge, was also at the event with Road Peace, a group which campaigns on behalf of crash victims.

She lost her husband, lorry driver Stephen Warby, when he was in a head-on collision with a Dutch lorry driver. No one was ever prosecuted.

And it is fire fighters who have to come and cut people from wreckages after crashes.

Crew manager Andy Littler, at King's Lynn's fire station, said there had been 14 fatal crashes in the last year in west Norfolk and crews from his station had attended 160 collisions in that year, compared to an average of 20 house fires.

To promote safe driving he organised the open day on Saturday, which was a huge success, with hundreds turning up throughout the morning and afternoon, including chief fire officer Richard Elliott.

Taking part in the busy day were police, ambulance crews, air ambulance, RAF fire crews, advanced motoring groups, road safety campaigners, driving simulators, vintage fire engines and more.

Demonstrations included rescuing a man from the practice tower, a breathing apparatus experience, driving skills tests, chip pan fires and a fly past by the police helicopter.

Mr Littler said: "There were 16 serious collisions in the past 12 months.

"We want to reduce the fatalities and get the message to people what impact crashes have on people's lives and families."

It is hoped similar events could be held in different parts of Norfolk each year, returning back to King's Lynn in about three years.

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