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Drive for life will be a poignant lesson for Five Acres students

| 20.10.15

A mother will speak from personal experience at a safe driving event in the Forest of Dean. 

Leanne Davies, 19, was killed when the car in which she was a passenger crashed into a wall at Longhope in 2013. The driver, Paul Reddan, 21, from Broadway was convicted of causing her death by dangerous driving and jailed for six years.

Following the tragedy, Leanne’s parents set up Leanne’s Gift, a charity which aims to raise awareness of road safety in Gloucestershire and provides support to the families of young people involved in road collisions in the Forest of Dean.

Leanne’s mum Heather Davies will help to spread a safer driving message to the next generation of drivers at Gloucestershire College’s Forest of Dean campus at Five Acres, Coleford which is staging Gloucestershire’s latest ‘Drive for Life’ event (20 Oct).

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who will open the event said: “Leanne’s death had a profound effect throughout the Forest and I am grateful to her mother for supporting this event and the work the family has done to raise awareness around road safety.

“‘Safe and social driving’ is one of the priorities of my police and crime plan and although young people may not find it very cool, it is vitally important they get the message”.

‘Drive for Life’ is organised by Gloucestershire’s Road Safety Partnership which is made up of the county’s fire and rescue service (GFRS), police and police and crime commissioner and Gloucestershire County Council. Following the impact of similar events at Hartpury College and Katherine Lady Berkeley School, students at Five Acres are being given a day off studies in the hope they will learn a lesson that could save their lives.

Site Principal Sandra Tyrrell said: “We are delighted to be working with the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership to host Drive for Life at Five Acres campus.

“The safety of our students is of utmost importance to us, especially in the rural community of the Forest of Dean, and we want to try to prevent the harm and heartache caused by road traffic collisions by raising awareness and educating them on safe and sociable driving.”

Operations Director for Gloucestershire County Council, Stewart Edgar, who is also Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, said:  “As a parent of young drivers, and as a young driver once myself, I know only too well the joy of driving and the fantastic sense of freedom that it brings – but I also know that it brings with it huge responsibility

The Drive For life event is an opportunity for students to learn about the harsher side of driving, but most importantly it is an event aimed at protecting the futures of our young people, their family and friends by preventing harm on the roads of our county.

There will be other activities and educational workshops and students will learn from members of the emergency services how an investigation develops. Police Family Liaison Officers will talk about the ‘ripple effect’ when they break the news to the victim’s family.

A number of outside organisations will also support the day, including the Institute of Advanced Motoring, the AA, NHS and Stroud District Road Safety Liaison Group.

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