For Charlotte: Father returns to Fenland bridge where daughter died to see campaign success

PUBLISHED: 10:07 21 January 2013 | UPDATED: 10:06 22 January 2013

Bedlam Bridge,

Bedlam Bridge,

Archant

HEARTBROKEN father Andy Walker returned to the Fenland bridge close to where his daughter died yesterday to observe the incredible progress of the road safety campaign founded in her honour.

It is almost five years since the car nine-year-old Charlotte was travelling in plunged into the icy waters of the Sixteen Foot, near Bedlam Bridge, March.

Her death sparked the Charlotte’s Way road safety campaign, founded by Graham Chappell, which has resulted in resounding, and life-saving, success.

Following a visit to the bridge by roads minister Mike Penning in 2011, £85,000 improvement work to install safety barriers started in November.

Yesterday, Mr Walker, Mr Chappell and Alan Kinninmonth, who rescued two young children from their mother’s sinking car in May, 2007, saw the progress for themselves.

Mr Chappell said: “The visit was a poignant one for us all but especially for Andy, as the fifth anniversary of losing Charlotte approaches.

“However, despite the bitter cold and snow flurries that greeted us, it was a proud moment too.

“We reflected on the tangible success our campaign has secured in finally getting safety barriers installed to protect against further river immersion accidents happening to vehicles using this junction on the Sixteen Foot Bank.

“We have established clear evidence that what many people once believed was impossible, really can be done.”

Mr Chappell, joined by a loyal team of fund-raisers, helped to raise thousands of pounds for the improvement work, which was joint funded by Cambridgeshire County Council.

“We are grateful for all the moral and financial support that has been, and continues to be given, to make our achievements possible,” said Mr Chappell.

“We very much appreciate the spirit of cooperation and partnership that has grown within Cambs County Council’s Highways, and other departments, since our campaign began.”

However, the road safety campaign is anything but over.

Mr Chappell is negotiating with Norfolk County Council’s highways team about improvement options for a section of the A1101 at Welney, where 19-year-old Megan Warner died in 2009.

He is also challenging Peterborough City Council on a blind bend at North Bank, near Whittlesey, which has seen three fatal crashes in the last eight years.

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