Campaign launched to keep children safe during dark mornings

High Vis campaign launched at Uppingham C of E Primary school attended by all the emergency service plus the RAC and other high vis using groups. EMN-141013-153951009
High Vis campaign launched at Uppingham C of E Primary school attended by all the emergency service plus the RAC and other high vis using groups. EMN-141013-153951009

It was raining cats and dogs but that did not stop the 300 plus pupils, parents, professionals and guests who brought along animals marching to make their safety message heard.

On a wet and windy Monday morning they marched from Uppingham C of E Primary, covering the 700 yard distance along Queen’s Road, Leicester Road and returned to the school in Belgrave Road - thoroughly drenched.

The occasion was the launch of the Be Safe Be Seen campaign to encourage youngsters to wear bright clothing in winter so they are clearly visible to motorists and safe from road accidents.

Mum and retained firefighter Mel Finnemore who is spearheading the campaign is calling for a law that makes it compulsory for primary pupils to wear fluorescent jackets when walking to and from school during the dark winter months.

Dozens of firemen, police, paramedics and construction workers, who wear fluorescent jackets for their work, were invited to the special assembly and march.

Ms Finnemore said: “I wanted the children to see that it is ‘hip and happening’ to wear bright jackets.”

Paul Sheen, a paramedic told the kids: “I wear bright clothes to make sure I am safe when I am helping to save people. If I am not safe, I cannot save you, can I?”

Oakham firefighter Mark Draper, who works with Rutland Road Safety Partnership, told the children: “Firefighters save lives. If each of you get your friends and relatives to wear these jackets as well, you too will be life savers.”

The campaign was backed by the RAC which brought along its mascot Horace and provided 200 kits containing bright vests and bags.

Mum Nicola Billam joined the march with her two children Chloe two, pupil at Stepping Stones and Luke five, a primary pupil.

She said: “It is so important for children to be bright and be seen on these dark mornings. My oldest is very excited about the campaign. We have a long walk from New Town Road to the school so I think it’s a really good campaign.”

Madeleine Longden, aged 10, is the junior road safety officer at her school. She said: “I make sure the others are keeping safe and know about crossing roads and teach them how to cross roads. I will be wearing high visibility jackets now.”

Kirsty Fogg, 10, said: “I never used to wear bright jackets. But will wear them now after today because I don’t want to be crushed by a car. I know now why it is so important.”

Anna Williams, six, said: “I don’t wear it, but I think I should wear it.”

Iain Peden, head teacher of Uppingham C of E Primary School described Monday’s launch of the campaign as a “fantastic experience for all the children”.

He said: “We started this about three years ago - to get children to understand why they need to be seen during dark Wintry nights.

“And it was ready for a big push.

“The backing of the fire service and sponsorship from the RAC has helped to really reinforce the message.

“This is a good time of year to be getting the message across to children that they really should be seen when they are on the roads.”