‘The night I lost my husband and son’ - Mother speaks out on Forty Foot crash in road safety talk
“On a dreary night in December, my husband and son were driving along the Forty Foot Bank. They went into the water and were fully submerged. They never came home.”
These words, spoken by Michelle Lynch, left 160 Year 11 students in stunned silence at Cromwell Community College, Chatteris, last Wednesday.
Mrs Lynch was speaking as part of a special “2Young2Die” presentation, led by Fenland campaigner Graham Chappell to coincide with national Road Safety Week.
The 43-year-old relived the night in December 2005 when she lost her 28-year-old husband Dean Hawes and their seven-year-old son Jordan.
“I specifically wanted to talk to students at Cromwell,” she said. “Jordan would be in Year 10 there now.
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“I was determined to hold it together and I think it had quite an impact - not just on the students but on the teachers as well.
“My story shocks because I lost two people. In one fell swoop I lost two people who had most of their lives in front of them.
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“It was emotional and next year it will be even more so as Jordan’s friends will be in the audience.
“I do keep in contact with some of them. I’ve seen them grow and I obviously wonder what Jordan would have looked like and what he would be doing.
“One of his friends has a girlfriend now and I wonder if Jordan would have one. He probably would.”
Mrs Lynch, who is a member of the Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte’s Way), gave her presentation days before work started to install safety barriers at Bedlam Bridge, near March.
Average speed cameras were activated along the Forty Foot in 2010 but the latest �85,000 improvement scheme, at Bedlam Bridge, is the result of four years of campaigning and fund-raising.
“The campaign was too important for me not to be involved,” said Mrs Lynch.
“But never in a million years did I think it would get as far as it has - the fund-raising, the barriers and Cambridgeshire County Council’s pledge to match our funding.
“The council has given us an open door now and we won’t stop there.”
Mrs Lynch moved from her home in Chatteris to Milton Keynes after the 2005 crash.
She has now remarried and lives in Warboys with her husband Craig, five-year-old son Logan and Jordan’s older brother Daniel.