The Awards were presented by Deborah Johnson, chair of Brake’s board of trustees, 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, said: “In the past 20 years, Brake has grown and developed a great deal, but we remain as dedicated as ever to our fundamental mission: to help create a world free from the senseless and preventable pain and trauma caused by road death and injury, and to enable people to get around safely and sustainably.
“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 devastated by road crashes. This year, as every year, we thank everyone who has supported Brake and spoken out for road safety. The winners of these awards have gone above and beyond, showing great determination to make a difference in their communities and across the country, and achieving real results. We are very pleased to be able to recognise their efforts.”
Paul Geddes, chief executive, Direct Line Group, commented: “Brake does a great job in promoting road safety awareness in Parliament, in the media and around the UK, so we are very happy to sponsor Parliamentarian of the Year. 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 UK has some of the safest roads in the world and, like today’s award winners, the government is determined to improve our record further. That is why we have made significant commitments to road safety through new THINK! campaigns, improved education and enforcement, including the new drug driving offence which will take effect in March 2015.”
Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clywd South, received Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award. Susan was recognised for campaigning to improve justice for bereaved and injured victims of road crashes, in line with Brake’s crackdown campaign.
Susan Elan Jones has been campaigning for tougher jail terms for drivers who kill and injure since the tragic death of a child in her constituency in 2009. She has been at the forefront of parliamentary debates on the subject throughout the year, setting the tone by bringing forward her own Driving Offences (Review of Sentencing Guidelines) Bill, with cross party support, in January.
Susan Elan Jones said: “Brake is an outstanding campaigning organisation - and I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. We remain determined in our quest to work with Brake to secure some measure of justice for the family of those people so tragically killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
Mandy Stock received Brake’s Campaigner of the Year Award. Mandy’s husband,Paul Stock, was killed in 2012 while walking near his home by a disqualified motorcyclist, who was sentenced to just 18 months in jail – the maximum the judge could give him because he pleaded guilty. Mandy has since campaigned, with the help of her MP, Richard Graham, to allow judges to hand out higher sentences to disqualified drivers – who have no right to be on the road in the first place – who kill. As a result, the government announced in May 2014 that maximum sentences for disqualified drivers who kill and injure would be increased.
Mandy Stock said: “I am delighted to receive this award, which was totally unexpected. I am thankful for those who have helped and supported me, especially my brilliant sister, Sue. The law failed us, and it was obvious to us that the law had to change. Thankfully, the people in a position to change things listened.”
Carly Lewin received Brake’s Fundraiser of the Year Award. Carly’s boyfriend, Steven Moore, was killed in 2010 by a drink driver, who was also unlicensed and uninsured. Carly has been fundraising for Brake since 2011, organising events including walks and football matches, but last year decided she wanted more of a challenge. She ran the 2014 London Marathon for Brake, in memory of Steven, having never run before, and raised over £14,000.
Carly Lewin said: “I am determined to keep working in Steve’s memory, both to raise awareness of how drink driving can ruin so many lives, and to fundraise to support Brake’s work and help stop this happening to someone else.”
Northumbria Police PC Jami Blythe received the Educator of the Year Award. Jami is the lead for Northumbria Police’s ‘Road Sense, Common Sense’ project, which works directly with schools across the region to deliver road safety lessons and send children home with important messages to their parents about how they can keep them, and other road users, safe.
Jami Blythe said: “I am very proud to receive this award, which is also testament to the hard work of Becky Frankel and Violet Atkinson, who have been a massive inspiration for me. Educating young people is being embedded in our road safety work, and we will continue to work with Brake to reach this audience.”
Students from Conisborough College in Catford, London, received an award for winning Brake’s road safety competition for young people. The students’ winning entry was a short film about the dangers of mobile phone use while driving, inspired by their own experiences and a road safety workshop delivered by a teacher trained through Brake’s engaging young people programme. The film was researched, scripted and produced by the students with help from Film in School.
Mathew Lloyd, drama teacher at Conisborough College, said: “It was a great feeling when we were told that we'd won the competition. We're proud that we have been able to turn something that has affected us so deeply into something positive.”