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Son of collarette craftsman killed in crash to launch road safety push in dad's memory

Pain of father's death prompts drive to raise awareness with politicians

By Donna Deeney

Published 13/08/2016

Christopher Sherrard, whose father Wilson made collarettes for the loyal orders
Christopher Sherrard, whose father Wilson made collarettes for the loyal orders
Wilson Sherrard
Christopher on his wedding day with his parents

The heartbroken son of a craftsman who died after a road accident last week has spoken of the devastating moment he was told his father was not going to live.

Wilson Sherrard (60), who specialised in making collarettes for the loyal orders, was driving home from Belfast when the car he was travelling in was in a collision with a van on the Foreglen Road, Claudy.

His son, Christopher, was at work when he got the devastating call to tell him his father had been in a car crash.

He immediately rushed to the hospital, but despite the best efforts of the medical staff his father passed away.

Mr Sherrard was a much-respected resident of the Fountain in Londonderry, where he was best known for making collarettes for the loyal orders.

Christopher told the Belfast Telegraph that the pain and devastation the family was going through was indescribable.

He added that he was determined to do what he could to protect others from such heartache and was planning to launch a road safety campaign in his father's memory.

"We are the 37th family this year to have lost someone we love on the roads of Northern Ireland and that doesn't take into account the people in the Republic," Christopher explained.

"No one can comprehend the pain of having someone in your family killed on the road unless you experience it, but I don't want anyone to experience this.

"I spoke to my father just before 3pm a week ago last Tuesday, and 10 minutes after 5pm I got a call telling me to get to Altnagelvin Hospital.

"When I got there a police liaison officer was waiting on me and she tried to prepare me for how bad things were.

"She said my father had very serious injuries and that he might not make it. My father's injuries were so bad that there was really no way he could have survived. He had two collapsed lungs, a shattered diaphragm, a punctured bowel, multiple fractures, a bleed on the brain and his face was smashed beyond recognition - it wasn't my father on that bed.

"That is the reality of a serious car crash, and it is hard for us to take in that our father will not be coming home to us.

"What has helped us so much is the incredible people from both communities who have come to our house and offered sympathy and condolences."

Mr Sherrard hopes to meet with all political parties so that more emphasis can be put on road safety and to raise awareness about the ripple effect one death on the road can have.

"The trauma that has hit our family isn't restricted to us - it has reached out and touched so many others as well," Christopher said.

"The people who stopped to help in the immediate aftermath of the crash, especially the man who was in the car behind my father, have been so badly affected by what has happened. That man may never get over it.

"No one sets out to have a car crash, but people need to think about what can happen."

Belfast Telegraph

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