Sunderland Women to be honoured with BEM
Written by Scott McGerty on 10th April 2018
A road safety campaigner who has used her own personal family tragedy to warn others about the fatal consequences of dangerous driving is to be honoured.
Violet Atkinson from Sunderland has been presented with a British Empire Medal (BEM) during a ceremony in the Mayor’s Parlour at Sunderland Civic Centre yesterday (Monday 9 April).
The British Empire is awarded to people in recognition for outstanding services to their country, community, profession or walk of life and Mrs Atkinson is receiving hers for Voluntary and Charitable Services promoting road safety awareness and education.
Following the death of her son Steven who was only twelve years old when he was struck and killed by a speeding motorist while out playing with friends in 2009, Violet has dedicated her life to campaigning for better road safety.
She has worked tirelessly with Northumbria Police and other community road safety partners to highlight the consequences and risk to life caused by dangerous driving, and promote the need for more responsible motoring.
Since Mrs Atkinson first addressed an audience of young drivers at The Sage Gateshead as part of a Northumbria Police road safety initiative in 2013, she has used her experiences to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless driving in a number of road safety campaigns.
In January 2015 she and her family even made a short film for schools sharing their experiences of the tragic consequences of dangerous driving, and the grief of losing a loved one because of it.
Since then as part of the ‘Roads to Justice’ campaign Mrs Atkinson has called for tougher sentencing for persistently dangerous drivers, and more scrutiny of those still driving with points on their licences for motoring offences.
Mrs Atkinson said:”When we lost Steven I first got involved with supporting the BRAKE road safety campaign, and did anything I could to help the police warn people about dangerous driving.
“If we can help prevent just one accident then it’ll all be worthwhile, no family should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one because someone didn’t take care on the roads.”
Among Mrs Atkinson’s guests of family and friends will be her sister Joanne, daughters Dawn and Katie and son John.
They’ll be joined by some of the Northumbria Police officers who have worked with Violet on the road safety campaigns she has been involved with, as well as their new Chief Constable, Mr Winton Keenen, and invited guests including the head teacher of Steven’s school Broadway Juniors, Mrs Acklam.