Awards for outstanding contributions to road safety announced at Brake annual reception

15 January 2014

Brake, the road safety charity

Awards recognising the contributions of parliamentarians, campaigners, educators and volunteers in tackling devastating road crashes and casualties were presented by road safety charity Brake at its annual reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, with support from Direct Line Group. (Photos attached.)

The Awards were presented by Julie Townsend, Brake's deputy chief executive, and Paul Geddes, chief executive of Direct Line Group, which sponsored the awards and reception. The reception was attended by Brake supporters and partners, including parliamentarians, corporate partners, road safety professionals and volunteers working in their communities to improve road safety.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Our work would not be possible without the dedicated individuals and partners who work alongside us, campaigning to prevent casualties and make our communities safer, fundraising in support of our work, and helping us support families who have been devastated by road crashes. We thank everyone who has supported Brake and spoken out for road safety in the past year. The winners of these awards have gone above and beyond, showing incredible determination to make a difference in their communities and nationally, and achieving real results. We are very pleased to be able to recognise their efforts in helping to make our streets safer and end the terrible suffering caused by road crashes."

Paul Geddes, chief executive, Direct Line Group, commented: "We're always delighted to sponsor these awards because as a charity, Brake does a great job in promoting road safety awareness in Parliament and around the UK. As a business and as the UK's leading motor insurer, we also work hard to spread the message of safe driving as part of our commitment to road safety."

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: "The efforts of those highlighted by Brake's awards in ensuring the number of tragic incidents on our roads continue to fall are to be commended. The UK has some of the safest roads in the world because of the success of road safety initiatives but sadly hundreds of people are still hurt or killed on our roads each year. That is why these kinds of initiatives are vital and why our efforts continue. More recently the Government has improved road safety education resources for schools, made it easier for councils to introduce 20mph zones and increased fixed penalties for offences such as driving while using a mobile phone from £60 to £100."

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, received the Parliamentarian of the Year: Community Campaigner Award for his successful campaign for widespread 20mph limits in his Cambridge constituency, to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Julian began his campaign as a councillor in 2006, and continued following his election as an MP to campaign, highlighting the benefits of 20mph limits to road safety, sustainable travel and public health. In March 2013 the council announced it will implement 20mph limits on most residential and shopping streets. Read more.

Rehman Chishti, MP for Gillingham and Rainham, received the Parliamentarian of the Year: National Campaigner Award for his work vigorously campaigning for tougher penalties for risky drivers who commit multiple offences, to reduce reoffending. Rehman used his experience as lawyer to propose improvements to sentencing options, so drivers who repeatedly drink drive, or drive when banned, face harsher penalties. He also spearheaded a campaign to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by driving while disqualified. He also championed a range of other road safety issues in parliament, such as 'alcohol locks' for high-level drink drivers, and action on drivers using mobile phones. Read more.

The family of Jamie Butcher (stepdad Steve Green, mum Tina Butcher and sister Hollie Butcher) received the Campaigners of the Year Award. Jamie Butcher was killed by a speeding driver in February 2011. His killer was given just 43 months in jail, and will likely serve less than two years. The Justice for Jamie set up by Jamie's family calls for tougher sentences for drivers who kill, to ensure drivers who end lives and inflict suffering are dealt with appropriately by our justice system. In response to their campaign, the Sentencing Council recently committed to review sentencing guidelines. Their campaign is supported by Brake and MP Steve Barclay. Read more.

The family of Neil Harold (wife Laura Harold and sisters Elaine Donaghy and Laura Leca) received the Fundraisers of the Year Award. Neil Harold was killed along with his passenger in August 2012, when another driver lost control and veered across the road. The family, who received bereavement support from Brake, have since coordinated a huge fundraising effort in Neil's memory which has to date raised almost £40,000 for Brake. Activities included sponsored bike rides and runs, a football match and bake sales, and 'A Night for Neil', a dinner dance and auction that raised a massive £24,000. Read more.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Cadets from Congleton, Sandbach and Runcorn received the 2young2die Award for their road safety film project. Brake's 2young2die competition encourages young people to get creative and promote life-saving road safety messages through powerful, original campaign adverts and films. The Cheshire Fire Cadets won the competition with a series of three short films, produced in memory of Congleton Fide Cadet Hayley Bates, who was killed in a road crash in September 2010. Read more.

Warwickshire PCSO Sharron Underwood received the Educator of the Year Award. Sharron began engaging young people through powerful, interactive road safety workshops in 2009 after attending a 2young2die course run by Brake. She has been an active ambassador for the project since, delivering workshops for more than 1,000 students and one-to-one sessions with young driving offenders. She has also trained more PSCOs to deliver the workshops and Warwickshire Police have credited her with a significant decrease in collisions involving young people from a college she works with. Read more.

Notes for editors

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Direct Line Insurance Group plc (Direct Line Group) is headquartered in Bromley, Kent; it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Through its number of well known brands Direct Line Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also offers insurance services for third party brands through its Partnerships division. In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, Direct Line Group continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

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