Police officer to honour 'beautiful' Rushden mum with road death campaign challenge

70-year-old Julie Bunkall died in June 2013

Friday, 13th May 2022, 12:56 pm
Emilie Bunkall will take on the seven-day challenge in memory of her mum Julie
Emilie Bunkall will take on the seven-day challenge in memory of her mum Julie

A Northamptonshire police officer whose mum died in a crash will take on a week-long challenge to highlight a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of road deaths.

Road crime officer PC Emilie Bunkall knows first-hand the devastating impact road deaths can have on loved ones after her mum Julie was tragically killed nine years ago.

She and colleagues from Northamptonshire’s road policing team have pledged their support for a national road safety campaign by taking part in the RoadPeace Andy Cox Challenge 2022

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Emilie Bunkall and Andy Cox will be raising money for RoadPeace - search Northants Police - Andy Cox Challenge 2022 on Just Giving

In memory of her mum Julie, who died in a road traffic collision on June 6, 2013, Emilie has pledged to complete nine miles each day of the campaign, a total of 63 miles by Sunday, May 22.

Emilie said: “I’ve worked in roads policing since 2006, and in my role as a family liaison officer, I supported families who had lost their loved ones in a road collision.

“On June 6, 2013, my world shattered when on duty, I heard over the police radio that my beautiful mum had been killed in a collision. I found myself walking in the footsteps of those I had supported, and for the first time truly felt their heartbreak.

“She was returning from taking a family friend to a hospital appointment when a car crossed the carriageway on the A6 at Burton Latimer and collided with her car head on. There was nothing she could have done.

“Her friend broke nearly every bone in her body in the collision, and although she thankfully survived, for the past nine years she has lived with life changing injuries in addition to survivor’s guilt.

“As you can imagine this was heart breaking and life changing for us all. I couldn’t believe I was walking the road I had guided so many families through. The deeper understanding of the trauma and day-to-day reality was far harder than I had ever imagined.

“The last nine years has been a difficult journey for me and my family, a journey I am still very much on. I thought I could no longer be an officer, but my mum was incredibly proud of my traffic role, and this has given me the strength to continue and play my part in road safety.”

Emilie will jog, cycle or walk each of the seven different routes across the county, which have all been the location of a road death, including her mum’s last journey from Kettering General Hospital to the A6 at Burton Latimer.

So far, between January and April this year, officers from Northamptonshire Police Serious Collisions Investigation Unit have attended collision resulting in 11 fatalities and 19 serious injuries.

From Monday (May 16), Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox, from Lincolnshire Police – a former Northants police officer – will cycle and run 30 miles a day, travelling across the UK on routes where fatal and serious road collisions have occurred, to raise vital funds for the road victims’ charity RoadPeace.

Det Ch Supt Cox said: “More people die on the UK’s roads than through murder and terrorism combined, so it’s time for us all to start taking road danger as seriously.”

To help raise money for RoadPeace go to Emilie’s Just Giving page.