Rutland mum launches high visibility campaign

Retained firefighter Mel Finnemore with kids Zac, four and Eva, nine EMN-140915-104651001
Retained firefighter Mel Finnemore with kids Zac, four and Eva, nine EMN-140915-104651001
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Making it mandatory for primary pupils to wear high visibility jackets could save lives, says a mum of two.

Now Mel Finnemore, a retained firefighter, is launching a ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ campaign in her effort get the message across to children and urge the Government to take action.

The campaign will start on October 13 with a march of 300 primary and nursery pupils - led by Horace the dog, the RAC’s safety mascot.

Dozens of mounted police, fire crew, paramedics, joggers, bikers, builders, construction workers, security men and mums with pushchairs, all wearing fluorescent-jackets, will join the march.

Mel said: “I want to get the message across to children that it is ‘hip and happening’ to wear high visibility jackets.

“Some children think horses are cool, others think that of bikes, so I’m trying to show them that it’s cool to wear bright jackets like the professional men and women do.

“I want it to be made law for children to wear bright clothing in winter. It would save many lives.”

The campaign will start with an assembly at 9.15am at Uppingham Primary when children from the school and Leighfield Primary as well as Stepping Stones, Upstarts and Little Angels nurseries will hear guest speakers talk about the importance of wearing bright clothing.

At 10am they will set off on the march to Uppingham Sports Complex, some 600 yards from the school, and after a lap around the adjacent field they will return to the school.

Mel, whose children Zac, four and Eva, nine, attend Uppingham Primary said, as a firefighter, she knows that high visibility jackets can save children’s lives.

“It is really important that all kids wear an item of bright clothing in winter months to stop them being run over,” she said. “People get noticed more if they are visible.

“There is a message here for parents as well - when you get your kids their jackets don’t get a black one, think about the safety implications and whether they will be visible to road users.”

Mel said she hopes that by meeting firemen, police, bikers and other professionals who wear fluorescent clothing as part of work, children will be more inclined to think that they too should wear it.

“My ultimate aim is that it should be made compulsory for children to use visibility bags or wear fluorescent jackets to school in the winter months to, hopefully, reduce the number of kids who get hit by cars,” she said.

“The Government needs to make it law.”

Rutland MP Alan Duncan is among those she has invited to join her campaign march.

Mr Duncan wrote back saying he can “certainly support the concept of high-visibility bags ” as it is a good safety option, but he would “not be in favour of any form of compulsion” as it is a question of parental responsibility and choice.

After the march all reception class children will be given high visibility back packs, paid for by grants from Uppingham School and Uppingham Town Council.

Mel will be continuing to raise funds and sponsorships to provide bright back packs or high-visibility jackets for more children.

Anyone can join the march on October 13 as long as they are wearing bright clothes.