Dorothy Pummell MBE, one the founders of the modern road safety service, died on 27 November at the age of 93 in her beloved county of Norfolk.
Following the Second World War many local authority functions were examined and road safety, which had been predominantly carried out by volunteers and committees, was reviewed as part of a Ministry of Transport circular in 1946. This circular recommended the appointment of road safety officers to co-ordinate accident prevention measures. Barking Borough Council, to the East of London, accepted this challenge and appointed Dorothy to the post in 1949. She served that same council through London re-organisation in 1965 to her retirement in the mid 1980s.
Dorothy was keen to promote a professional approach to preventing death and injury on the road and together with colleagues set about what became a lifetime crusade to develop the road safety service as we recognise it today. She was a founder Chairman of The National Association of Road Safety Officers and then in 1971 helped to convert this association into the Institute of Road Safety Officers, serving as national secretary. She was also a founder member of the Association of London Road Safety Officers and a loyal supporter of the work of London Accident Prevention Council ( now LRSC) and served with huge pride as a vice-president until the present time.
Dorothy also served on a number of national road safety bodies including Government committees and working parties, and RoSPA’s National Road Safety Committee. She was part of the team that established the National Qualification for RSOs which many have benefitted from during the past four decades. Indeed, it was her great desire to improve the professional standing of RSOs for which she will probably be best remembered. She was honoured by gaining the MBE, becoming the second professional RSO to gain this recognition in the late 1960s.
David Williams MBE, chief executive of GEM Motoring Assist, said: "As a ‘boss’ she was an outstanding motivator and many ‘junior’ staff who had a grounding in road safety under Dorothy went on to become very successful senior road safety officers including the late David Harrington, John Miller, and Barbara Cronin. I too benefitted enormously from the guidance given during my time at Barking in the early 1970s and Dorothy always found time to write to congratulate and recognise my career achievements as indeed she did for all her ex-staff."
Dorothy retired with her husband Reg to Norfolk and set about offering her energy and abilities to a wide range of local organisations including the Parish Council and WI. Dorothy was also an accomplished ballroom dancer and was first on the dance floor at RoSPA conference dances. In later life she amazed many by becoming very IT proficient and as long ago as the late 1990s was designing and sending her own electronic Christmas cards.
David Williams added: "Dorothy’s passing has already been described by many as the end of an era and it is true that there is very unlikely to be an individual in our profession who will leave such a lasting legacy. I am humbled to have known and worked with her and I owe her a huge thank you for helping guide me into such a rewarding career."
Those who remember Dorothy are welcome to attend a service at the Congregational Church, The Lane, Briston at 12.30 pm on Monday 16 December, followed by cremation at 2.00 pm at St.Faith’s Crematorium in Norwich. There will be a reception at the Three Horseshoes in Briston from 1.30 onwards, at which everyone is welcome.