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Family’s campaign for safer buses continues

The Goolds with supporters at their Safe Means Safe stand during Leicester Tigers' Party in the Park EMN-160913-153436001
The Goolds with supporters at their Safe Means Safe stand during Leicester Tigers' Party in the Park EMN-160913-153436001

A family has reached a milestone figure on a petition calling for safer coaches but still needs people across the area to add their names.

Eleven-year-old Seb Goold lost his right leg above the knee and suffered a severe brain injury after falling from the 20-year-old coach when a side exit door swung open.

The accident happened in March 2014.

Seb’s parents Nick and Tracey, of Wansford, launched a petition a month ago calling for safer coaches after finding that there are loopholes meaning that older coaches can disguise their age with private number plates.

So far more than 3,500 people have signed but the couple need 10,000 signatures to warrant a response from Government and 100,000 signatures for it to be considered for debate in parliament.

Tracey described 3,500 signatures as a milestone figure as it’s a third of the way to the first big target.

On Saturday, the family were invited to have a stand at Leicester Tigers’ Party in the Park to mark the launch of the team’s rugby season - and while it was a wet day, Tracey said it was all about raising awareness.

She said: “There were lots of people coming through but the weather didn’t help. When we’ve told people about Seb’s story they have been really supportive and people are getting behind it. There are so many families potentially impacted.”

The family were able to build a relationship with Leicester Tigers through the Matt Hampson Foundation Trust, which Seb is an ambassador for.

Last week, Seb and his twin brother Ben started secondary school at Stamford School and although he still has a long way to go on his road to recovery, his parents are positive about their son’s future.

Seb has been particularly inspired by the gold medal success at the Rio Paralympics and stayed up late to watch Jonnie Peacock win the T44 100m gold on Friday night. Jonnie also has his right leg amputated but below the knee as a result of contracting meningitis as a child.

Tracey, a lecturer with the Open University Business School, said: “Seb is learning to run on a blade and he definitely has his sights set on Tokyo. He’s been watching The Last Leg every night and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Seb - he’s seeing all these stories and what people are achieving at the Paralympics.

“We are trying to encourage him as much as we can and he really believes he can do it. It’s a great thing for him to aim for.”

The family’s petition specifically calls for:

New safety legislation should apply to all coaches - not just those manufactured from that date - and all coaches should be brought up to standard or decommissioned.

Operators should not be able to hide the age of their vehicles using private plates.

When booking a coach, there should be transparency over the age of the coach, the level of safety equipment it has and the licence safety/compliance history of the operator.

Sign the petition by visiting petition.parliament.uk/petitions/163522


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