Road safety truck named in honour of police officer’s mum who died in A6 crash at Burton Latimer
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A new road safety truck has been named in honour of the late mother of a Northamptonshire Roads Policing officer.
PC Emilie Bunkall knows the devastation a road death can have after her mum Julie was fatally injured in a collision on the A6 at Burton Latimer on June 6, 2013.
It is this personal experience which has been the driving force behind Emilie’s dedication and commitment to raise awareness of the life-long grief caused to families by road fatalities every day.
Not only has Emilie continued to police the county’s roads over the past decade, since 2021 she has taken part in the annual RoadPeace Challenge in her own time to help raise awareness of the road death endemic in the UK.
For the past two years, Paul Owen and Lee Millard have helped deliver road safety sessions at county primary schools, giving children the opportunity to look around an HGV cab and learn about staying safe near such vehicles.
Also supporting Emilie at Wickes Stores Delivery Network has been Robert Dibble, who is the transport operations manager and responsible for managing bookings and releasing drivers to attend events.
Robert said: “The safety demo truck helps to demonstrate what our HGV drivers can and can’t see while sat in the trucks and is part of our education programme we offer free to schools.
“Following the pandemic, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to re-start our school visits and raise awareness of the importance of road safety especially when being around such large vehicles as HGVs.
“Over the past two years Paul and Lee have been supporting Emilie with her school visits and they came up with the idea of naming the new Wickes safety demo truck in memory of Julie to show the human cost of road traffic collisions.”
Emilie, her sister Lesley White and their families are honoured that the truck has been named Julie May.
Emilie said: “Following my mum’s death, I thought I could no longer be an officer, but she was incredibly proud of my traffic role, and this gave me the strength to continue and play my part in striving to improve road safety.
“The last 10 years has been a difficult journey for the whole family, a journey we are still very much on, but when Paul and Lee approached us about the idea of naming their new truck after mum, we were just totally blown away.
“We have all been truly touched by such a kind gesture, and have shed a few tears, however as a family we are extremely proud that our mum’s name will play a pivotal role in educating the next generation and keeping them safe on our roads.
“We are not sure what mum would have made of having a truck named after her.
"However, when we were children, she enjoyed working at Moor Road Playgroup in Rushden, and she cherished her time with her grandchildren, so we are sure she’d have been honoured by the gesture.”
To book the truck, email [email protected].