Safety First: Mother's anger fuels action

SINCE her daughter was killed in a horrific minibus accident in December 1991, Wendy McGuinness has become a leading campaigner for better safety measures.

She has never been able to bring herself to unpack her daughter's rucksack. It was left at her front door after Rachel, aged 15, was flung from the back of a minibus into oncoming traffic on her way home from a weekend with the army cadets.

Rachel was returning to London from a weekend in Folkestone in a crew-seated minibus - one with side- facing bench seats - without seat belts when the accident happened on a Sunday afternoon. The driver, who had had only a few hours' sleep since the previous Friday, lost control on the M20 in Kent. The bus hit the central reservation and its back doors flew open, catapulting the occupants on to the road, leaving four dead and eight injured. The driver later received an pounds 800 fine and a four-year ban for driving without due care and attention.

Since then, Wendy has devoted much of her time to campaigning for such buses to be abolished, and is now the London organiser of the campaign group Belt Up School Kids. The passing of two-and-a-half years has not even begun to ease her grief.

'This is my way of dealing with it, to try and prevent it happening to other people,' she says. 'I am channelling my anger. When the law is changed, I don't know what I am going to do. I am going to have to start campaigning on something else. I have to do something to keep my mind occupied.'

She urges parents to be vigilant and to check on safety measures before they allow their children to travel in a coach or a minibus. An adult said to her recently that she would not be able to bring herself to carry a crying child off a bus rather than allow him or her to go on a trip without a seatbelt.

'Personally, I would have no trouble with that at all,' Wendy says.

Seat belts are to be fitted in all minibuses and coaches used by Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire. The council already has belts in most of the 50 mini buses it owns, but the new policy will also cover hired vehicles.

Belt Up School Kids can be contacted via Pat Harris on (0291) 672488.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Reach Volunteering: External HR Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot