‘It frightens me that more children could be killed’

Julie Parkin with prizes given by the Co-op  promoting road safety
Julie Parkin with prizes given by the Co-op promoting road safety

A HUCKNALL grandma has joined the town’s fight for improved road and cycle safety after the tragic deaths of two young boys in accidents.

Julie Parkin lives on Annesley Road, opposite National Church Of England Academy.

Both of the cyclists, who were killed in separate accidents, attended the school.

After hearing about the tragedies, Julie has been motivated to take action and has joined a safety initiative supported by the Dispatch.

“I didn’t know the boys who died but living near the school, I witness children all the time walking and cycling to school and have had a few near misses while driving,” said Julie. “There is a lack of care among some of the children.

“It frightens me to think that more children could be hurt or killed if more isn’t done to educate kids and parents to be more safety conscious.”

Fifteen-year-old Harrison Carlin, of Buckingham Avenue, Hucknall, was riding his bike on Forest Lane, Papplewick back in July when he was in collision with a car. Fellow National student, Jeffrey Townley (12), died in hospital after being in collision with a van while cycling along Linby Road, Hucknall in September.

Investigations are ongoing into these two accidents and while these occurred in the summer, it is feared that as the clocks go back and the nights draw in, more accidents could happen.

Julie added: “We need to educate our kids more into being seen at night, especially while riding bikes on the road.

“I was talking to some boys the other day and their response to me was ‘cars have lights so the drivers should be able to see us ’.

“But this is nonsense. It is vital that youngsters find a way of being seen, either with lights, high-visibility jackets or bags or even painting their bikes with luminous paint. There are numerous products on the market to help children be seen.”

Julie, who works at Portland Road Co-Op in Hucknall, is running a raffle with the store’s support to give away a pack of high-visibility products.

“I just wanted to do something positive to help and the Co-Op gave me the money to buy the goods for a raffle,” said Julie.” All the funds raised will go to the Put Things Right fund which has been set up by friends of Harrison and Jeffrey.”

Tickets are available in store for £1.

Julie explained: “In my day we had the Tufty Club and the Green Cross Code man, but there seems to be very little around these days for youngsters to relate to.

“We have to find ways to make it trendy to be seen and wear safety products.”

Coun Ian Morrison, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, has joined up with Bulwell Labour MP Graham Allen to get legislation passed to make it compulsory for all new bikes to be fitted eith lights and for all sales to include helmets and reflective clothing.

“I support this campaign,” added Julie. “But all this will take time and I want parents and children to act now.”