A website in memory of those killed on the roads in Northern Ireland has been set up by two people who have lost loved ones. The Road Angels Legacy was initiated by Vanessa Ledgewood whose 22-year-old brother Gareth Farrelly from Draperstown, Co Londonderry died following an accident in the town in 2002.
And supporting Vanessa in the website project is Desertmartin man Francie McDaid, who tragically lost his daughter Michelle in September seven years ago at the age of 18. The site www.roadangelslegacy.com is a platform for relatives of people who have died on the roads to pay poignant tributes to their loved ones.
Francie also attended the demonstration organised by the emergency services at Tesco Cookstown to mark Road Safety Week. And he told the MAIL he is keen to raise the profile of roadangelslegacy.com across Mid-Ulster as well as generate awareness of safe driving on the roads.
“My daughter Michelle turned 18 on September 10, 2002 and she died on September 15. She was a pupil at St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt and had gone on to train in hairdressing. Road collisions leave relatives devastated and this site is a place where they can come and talk to each other – it’s not in memory of one particular person; it’s for everyone who has lost a loved one,” he said.
Michelle was a front seat passenger in a car which lost control just outside Draperstown. And her father said the website will be a source of great comfort to grieving relatives, many of whom will find it difficult to speak about their loss, especially in the immediate aftermath. Friends and relatives can visit the site and leave a tribute in the memory garden where it’ll be read by other users.
Road Angels Legacy, which was set up two months ago, has already had one million hits and has the full backing of politicians in Northern Ireland.
“We’ve been to schools to talk about the impact that road collisions have, not just on relatives, but on those who have survived and perhaps been left disabled as a result of their injuries,” explained Francie. “Even though the site has been up and running for just two months, we’ve already been invited to road safety events and we’re more than happy to talk about it. If it gets the message out, then that’s good,” he added.