Road safety volunteers recognised in New Year’s Honours

14.43 | 2 January 2018 |

Two road safety volunteers have seen their efforts recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Pat Martin (pictured centre) has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to road safety in Northern Ireland, while Violet Atkinson has received the British Empire Medal for services to road safety awareness and education in Northumberland.

Mrs Martin, from Newtonabbey, Antrim, has been involved in road safety for more than 50 years – having set up one of the first Tufty clubs as a teacher at Carnmoney Primary School in Newtownabbey back in 1966.

She also helped form the Newtownabbey Road Safety Committee (NRSC) in 1976 and held the position of chair for many years.

Mrs Martin is currently acting chair for Road Safe NI ­(formerly known as the Road Safety Council of Northern Ireland) ­- a position she previously held for eight years before stepping down in 2016.

In December 2016, Mrs Martin received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NI Road Safety Awards (featured image).

At the time, she said: “I had this fear all my life that I would ever knock a child down.

“My own kids, when they were young everyone in the area would come and play in my garden because I was happy I knew they were safe. It is part of the reason I became so involved in road safety.

“I do feel there’s a need to get at the kids young with this message. Teachers and principals have to continue to put across the road safety message.”

Violet Atkinson, from Sunderland, works as a road safety volunteer for Northumbria Police.

Ms Akinson’s son Steven died aged 12 years in October 2009 when he was hit by a speeding driver.

Since then, she has been heavily involved with the road safety charity Brake, calling for tougher sentences for those who choose to drive over the speed limit.

In November 2014 she spoke at the regional launch of Road Safety Week in Sunderland, and the following eyar Ms Atkinson and her family made a short film about Steven’s death.

The film now forms part of a young driver initiative which has reached more than 1,500 students and military personnel in the North East.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Ms Atkinson said: “Campaigning is something I will always do because I feel it is so important.

“We need to get people to realise that those who speed and injure or kill people, they aren’t just affecting their lives but the lives of others too.”

The British Empire Medal, revived in 2012 to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, is presented annually to about 300 community volunteers.

Image: Road Safe NI


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