Angela Smith: obituary (1957-2011)

13.57 | 26 January 2012 | | 9 comments

It is with great regret that we report that Angela Smith, road safety officer for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, tragically passed away on 29 December 2011 after a short illness, aged 54 years.

Angela worked as an accident prevention officer at Waltham Forest from 1989 to 2003.  Paul Binnie, road safety officer at Waltham Forest at the time, said: “Angela worked extremely hard and forged excellent relationships with the schools and community; many of her professional contacts became firm friends over the years.”

Angela set up the Junior Accident Prevention Officers’ Club at Waltham Forest, her own version of the modern Junior Road Safety Officers’ scheme, many years before the scheme went London-wide.

Paul went on to say: “Angela had many friends. Whenever I went out with her to work in the community she would always bump into someone she knew. One year, when flying to Blackpool for a ROSPA conference, she even knew the person she sat next to on the plane – who was nothing to do with road safety!”

Angela moved to Tower Hamlets in 2003 to become road safety education officer.  Angela was involved in many projects, including cross-borough and pan-London initiatives. She took a leading role in developing pan-London drug-driving awareness campaigns and ran Tower Hamlets’ very successful Junior Citizen Scheme. 

Tony Davis, of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, said: “ Angela helped to shape future generations of Tower Hamlets children through the Junior Citizens’ programme, in which 17,000 pupils participated during her time with the council.  Angela’s cheerful and professional approach were always her hallmark.”

While Angela could be quiet and reserved at work, she could be a bit of a livewire away from work. Her solo slot as Aretha Franklin on the dance floor at one ROSPA conference is still celebrated today.

Angela was a student at the Open University, through which she achieved a degree, and often used to supervise student parties. She also featured in a film about Open University life which was frequently broadcast during the early hours of the morning. Paul Binnie recalls: “Very often someone would say to her, ‘I saw you on TV when I got in from the pub last night!’.”

Angela was committed to improving road safety practice and took an active involvement in regional groups such as the London Road Safety Council and the London group of Road Safety GB.  She was also a member of the executive committee of the London Road Safety Council and served diligently in the role of treasurer for six years.

Angela enjoyed being outdoors and would often spend an hour or so at her beloved allotment before going to work and would often head straight back there at the end of the working day.

Angela’s private email header was ‘Sunshine Queen’.  Never was a title more apt; Angela brought a ray of sunshine into the lives of all who worked with her and will be greatly missed.


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    I never knew her but she sounds like a diamond. God bless you Angela, and my thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues.

    John Wright, Sheffield
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    I was shocked and saddened to hear about Angela and I’m sure everyone’s thoughts will be with her family.
    As others have commented, her infectious smile and that great “Aretha” performance will always stay in the memory.

    Keith Gammon – Hornchurch – Buzz RSE
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    Like everyone else I was shocked and saddened to hear about Angela’s passing. I did not know her well but my memories are also of her wonderful smile – and her dancing at the RSGB conferences. I regret not seeing “Aretha”! My thoughts and prayers remain with her family and friends who must miss her so much.

    Theresa Casbard – Hon Treasurer Road Safety GB
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    My colleagues who have commented before me we very eloquent, I agree with everyone and everything. Well said. I’m shocked and saddened by this terrible news. Angela was always a pleasure to be in the company of, and a great loss not just to us in the profession, but also to Tower Hamlets as a whole. The team there have some big shoes to fill and I can only imagine how empty the office must feel. My heart felt condolences to her family, team, and community. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Angela, you will be missed x

    Su Ormes, Hon. Secretary RSGB
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    I worked closely with Angela for 6 years when I was Administrator and she was Treasurer of the London Road Safety Council. I find it hard to believe that Angela is not there to make me smile at meetings. She lit up the room with that lovely smile. She was a joy to work with, a lovely lady who I will miss very much. It’s true she was our very own Sunshine Queen.

    Carol Walker London Region
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    We were all greatly saddened at Dynamic to hear the news about Angela’s untimely passing and our heartfelt condolences go especially to her lovely family. We know how precious they were to her. We also saw how dedicated she was to her job having had the pleasure of working closely with her for so many years. She had so much passion for road safety.
    It’s another sharp reminder that life can be short and things which might seem important, really aren’t.

    Jan Deans, Dynamic
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    I can only agree with what my fellow Scot from Cambridge and fellow Smith from Dorset have said in their heartfelt tributes to Angela.
    It does not seem like 20 years ago that three Smiths -Robert, Angela and myself – all new to road safety were grouped together on a BITER Introduction to Road Safety course in the wilds of the Co-op College at Loughborough.
    Angela’s company,her participation in group work, her sense of humour and her enthusiasm for a dance particularly to La Bamba made what was a long week pass really quickly.
    Over the years it was always good to see Angela at various events, particularly when she was enjoying the RoSPA Conference after dinner entertainment. She never changed in any way – apart from her dance moves!
    She will be greatly missed and is a sad loss not only to road safety, but also as a friend.

    Bill Smith – Glasgow – dbda/RoSPA Products
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    How very sad to hear about Angela and what a lovely tribute above to a lovely lady. Whilst I did not work with Angela professionally, I knew her socially from the RoSPA annual conferences, and her memorable performances as ‘Aretha’! Sincere condolences to all of Angela’s family, friends and colleagues for this sad loss.

    Ann Marie Bailey, Cambridgeshire County Council
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    What terribly sad news. Our thoughts go out to Angela’s family, friends and colleagues. Our paths had crossed many times over the past 20 years and it was always a joy to meet up with Angela. Her smile was infectious. Angela’s passing is a great loss to the profession and at such a young age too. Very sad indeed.

    Robert Smith Dorset
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