Appeal at RoSPA Awards dinners raises more than £27,000 for safety campaigns

An emotional appeal from two fathers who tragically lost their children in accidents raised more than £27,000 at three RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards gala dinners - a staggering amount which will enable the progression of two valuable safety campaigns. 

In video messages played to nearly 3,000 dinner guests, Mark Goodwill and Angus McLaughlin described the work they have been doing with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to raise awareness of the importance of driveway safety and the dangers of looped blind cords, respectively.

Extended versions of the appeal videos are now available to view online on RoSPA’s YouTube site. The driveway safety video can be seen here and the blind cords video is available here.

RoSPA has been working with Mark since his son Iain was killed when he was struck by the family car in a driveway accident near Inverness when he was just 17 months old. Half of the money raised will fund the continuation of driveway safety initiatives by RoSPA and the Iain Goodwill Trust, which was established by Mark and his family.

With driveway deaths and serious injuries happening each year, the funds will support a nationwide campaign, highlighting the risks to young families. As well as raising awareness, advice and information on how to avoid driveway accidents will be provided through posters and leaflets.

Mark Goodwill said: “The last four and a half years have been spent asking ‘What If...’ questions after Iain was run over by a car accidently started by a three-year-old. With RoSPA’s help, we secured a guarantee in 2009 that new cars could not be accidently started and we have since moved on to an awareness campaign.

“Being able to make such a distinguished audience mindful of this was fantastic, but to also raise so much money was unbelievable and we cannot thank everybody enough. With the help of RoSPA, we will now be able to further our work in order to help save more young lives on the family driveway.”

Angus McLaughlin contacted RoSPA after his two-year-old daughter Muireann was accidentally strangled by a looped blind cord at the family home in Clackmannanshire. RoSPA has worked with the family ever since, promoting the Make it Safe campaign across Scotland and the rest of the UK. So far, more than 100,000 packs have been distributed containing safety information and a cleat - a small plastic device that is fitted to the side of the window for the blind operating cord to be wrapped around.

The donations made at the RoSPA Awards dinners will allow RoSPA to continue to raise awareness of the dangers of looped blind cords, by distributing thousands more packs, with the support of the British Blind and Shutter Association. The possibility of offering a fitting service for the cleats is also being investigated as there is evidence that schemes that provide safety equipment are more effective where installation takes place.

RoSPA is aware of at least 22 children dying in blind cord accidents in the UK since 1999 (with 11 occurring since the beginning of 2010).

Angus McLaughlin said: “Kate and I are overwhelmed at the amount of monies raised at the RoSPA gala dinners. Our thanks go to everyone involved. Although an awful lot of work has been done to prevent any more deaths by looped cord strangulation, there have been four in the last year in the UK. The monies raised will go towards preventing further heartbreak for parents like Kate and I. More has to be done to ensure industry takes their responsibilities seriously in the case of injury and death prevention.”

Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of RoSPA, said: “The vibrant celebrations fell silent when Mark and Angus addressed our gala dinner guests. The generosity shown by those at the dinners was overwhelming and will undoubtedly help RoSPA to further its mission to save lives and reduce injuries.

“Thanks to this appeal, we will be able to take forward our driveway and blind cord campaigns and, in so doing, we echo the hope of both Angus and Mark that no-one else experiences what their families have been through.”

The gala dinners took place in May as part of the annual RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards, which are held in Birmingham and sponsored by NEBOSH (the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health). To find out more about the 2013 RoSPA Awards visit www.rospa.com/awards or call 0121 248 2090.

RoSPA is a registered charity and relies on donations to support its campaign work.

For more information on, and to support, RoSPA’s key campaigns, visit www.rospa.com/campaigns/.  You can also donate to RoSPA at www.rospa.com/about/donate/.



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