Richard Spring MP won Parliamentarian of the Year 2009 - Community Campaigner

community2009Brake and Direct Line Insurance have awarded Richard Spring, MP for Suffolk West, ‘Parliamentarian of the Year – Community Campaigner’ for his determination to improve safety on the most dangerous road in his region.

The A11, which leads into Norfolk, has claimed many lives over the years and Richard has been campaigning to secure funding for safety improvements to the road. Plans were made to resolve the problems by dualling it, identified as a priority ten years ago, but little progress had been made before the start of 2009.

Richard has been involved in the campaign from the start. He has rallied support from local counsellors, constituents and parliamentary colleagues from Norfolk, who have put aside party differences to devise ways of getting the issue prioritised. He has raised awareness of the issue by taking his campaign to the press and found numerous ways to put pressure on local and Government decision makers.

Along with Christopher Fraser MP and Councillor Daniel Cox, Richard presented a petition containing 15,000 local signatures to then Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon MP before formally meeting him to discuss the issue further.

Following his meeting, Richard managed to secure funding for the dualling of the A11, a timetable was agreed and work should begin in 2010, with improvements in place by 2012-2013.

Brake applauds Richard’s commitment to road safety and his determination to see the campaign through to the end for the benefit of his constituents and everyone using the A11. The awards were presented at Brake’s annual reception at the Houses of Parliament on the evening of Tuesday 19 January 2010.

Cathy Keeler, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “We are delighted to see that safety improvements are finally due to begin on the A11. Richard has shown real determination in rallying support and fighting for road safety on behalf of his constituents. Brake congratulates Richard on his success and is happy to recognise his efforts by awarding him ‘Parliamentarian of the Year – Community Campaigner’.”

Richard Spring MP said: “I was surprised and deeply touched that Brake felt that I deserved an award. Road safety is not a glamorous issue and neither is it a party political issue, and as such I would like to thank Charles Clarke MP who has been of great help in the attempts over many years to make such a dangerous stretch of road as the A11, safe. These sorts of campaigns can take years, and this one has not finished yet as work is yet to be started. A great deal more dogged determination may be required, from a great many more people, before lives stop being lost.”

Steve Treloar, Managing Director of Motor at Direct Line Insurance said: “As the UK’s number one direct car insurer we have a very real interest in ensuring that road safety issues remain part of the public and political agenda and real action is taken at a local and national level to avoid the tragedies that are still too common on our roads. We are proud to sponsor these awards and would like to congratulate Richard who has tirelessly campaigned to make a difference.”

Members of the public can nominate their MP for a Brake award by emailing ebooth@brake.org.uk. They can also visit the Brake website (www.brake.org.uk) to find out about how to support Brake’s work with families that have been affected by a road crash by helping to raise vital funds for Brake. You could take part in a parachute jump, organise a coffee morning or take part in a sponsored walk. To find out about these and other fundraising ideas, call Lisa Kendall on 01484 683294 or email lkendall@brake.org.uk

Photos of Richard receiving his award are available from Brake.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line is part of RBS Insurance, the second largest general insurer in the UK1 and is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com Direct Line Insurance plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: 3 Edridge Road, Croydon, Surrey CR9 1AG. Registered in England and Wales no. 01810801. The Financial Services Authority’s Register can be accessed through http://www.fsa.gov.uk

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