Thakeham’s budding new Speedwatch group has been presented with equipment by Sophia Wilton, in memory of her sister.
Ellie Thornton was just 11 when she was involved in an accident on the B2139 in Thakeham while she was walking to the school bus stop with her school friends.
Last week Sophia, nine, officially handed over the equipment, donated by Global Associates, to the group and Thakeham Parish Council, in memory of her beloved sister.
Ellie’s mother Kerry Wilton and her step-father Adrian said: “We are so incredibly grateful to Global Associates for donating this equipment and to the local community for setting up the Speedwatch group.
Ellie is sadly missed by us all every minute of every day and it’s totally heartbreaking not having her here. Ellie was a such a beautiful soul and had so much more life to live.”
In an appeal to drivers, the family said: “We feel motorists should abide to the speed limits and consider that the limit set, is the maximum limit on that road.
“If it is raining or icy please just slow down. We are looking to raise awareness - speed kills, careless driving kills, slow down, leave earlier and protect a life.”
A spokesman for Global Associates said: “We are delighted to be allowed to support the Thakeham Community Speedwatch Group with the donation of this equipment. In March 2017 a staff member tragically lost their beautiful 11 year old step daughter, Ellie Thornton. The B2139 road is being used to bypass the main routes and some motorists drive at excessive speeds through Thakeham.
Our hope is that drivers will be educated that speeding will not be tolerated on these roads, the ultimate aim to reduce the risk to both pedestrians and other motorists.”
The donation has been welcomed by Thakeham Parish Council. Vice-chairman Caroline Instance said: “For some time Thakeham Parish Council has been working to reduce traffic speed along the B2139 through the centre of our village. It has taken considerable effort to achieve the recently installed traffic calming measures, needing WSCC Highways and Police backing.
“We are grateful to Global Associates for their generous donation to buy a speed gun for the new Speedwatch group set up by local resident Ian King, and we will continue to support the volunteer group to educate the public. Speed limits are the maximum someone should drive and extra care (and brakes!) should be applied in a residential area.
“We were pleased that Sophia Wilton, holding the camera, is showing that positive action can be taken to slow cars down in our village in honour of her sister, Ellie.”
Ian King added: “As a resident of Thakeham for over 16 years I’ve seen the volume of traffic increase drastically over recent years along with speeds through the village and felt it was time something was done to make the village safer especially after the tragic accident last year. Working alongside the speedwatch group based in Storrington we hope to make the area safer for the local community.”