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.