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Bobby Colleran’s mum will mark his 16th birthday by helping every primary school child in Liverpool

2 months ago

Bobby Colleran’s mum will mark his 16th birthday by helping every primary school child in Liverpool
The Bobby Colleran Trust activity packs

The Bobby Colleran Trust is giving out road safety activity packs to every primary school in the city ahead of what would have been his 16th birthday.

Joanne and her family set up the charity after her six-year-old son, Bobby Colleran, was killed in a road accident as he walked home from school in West Derby almost 10 years ago.

It’s dedicated to improving safety and campaigning for 20mph Bobby Zones outside schools, and each year marks Bobby’s birthday on March 13 with Wear Blue for Bobby Day to raise funds and awareness.

But this year is particularly special.

Joanne Colleran in a Blue for Bobby sweatshirt
Joanne Colleran in a Blue for Bobby sweatshirt

“Bobby would been 16 this year, and that is such a milestone,” says Joanne. “He might have been leaving school and that brings with it so many emotions for me and my family. It’s a hard one.”

To mark it The Bobby Colleran Trust has spent more than £11,000 creating the activity packs and making sure every infant and junior school in Liverpool, Sefton, St Helen, and Knowsley, receives them.

“And it’s money well spent,” adds Joanne.

The packs, which are in addition to new colouring books and a third story book Superbob! S.T.O.P., which all promote road safety, contain things like word searches and spot the difference competitions, along with invitations to schools and pupils to design their own road safety t-shirts and posters.

“Kids learn more when they’re having fun.

Bobby's Base
Bobby’s Base

“And there’s lots of information about all aspects of road safety and what to do when you’re on your way home, as well as other activities like ‘make your own parking ticket’ for when maybe parents don’t behave like they should!”

The Trust is also encouraging people to make a special effort this year for Wear Blue for Bobby Day. The striking Radio City Tower will be glowing blue and there will be screens across Liverpool, and the three schools which raise the most money to support The Bobby Colleran Trust’s efforts could win fun outdoor playground markings worth between £500 and £1,500.

“It’s all about getting that safety message across,” continues Joanne. “It feels like one of the only things I can do as a mum, and that spurs me on.

“That, and the thought that we can help save lives, and stop other families going through what we have.”

Although it was initially set up to promote road safety, The Bobby Colleran Trust has gone on to offer child bereavement support too which it now offers from the ‘Bobby Base’ set up in the grounds of his old school, Blackmoor Park Infants, which already has a memorial garden and interactive cave in his memory.

Wear Blue For Bobby competition
Wear Blue For Bobby competition

There people can access one-to-one, family and group bereavement counselling, along with more general mental health sessions and coping advice for children who are struggling.

“I love it in Bobby’s Base,” smiles Joanne. “There’s a lovely feeling in there and I feel so close to Bobby.

“He would be so proud to have had so much done in his name, and he would have loved to have helped so many people because that was the boy he was.

“In his six short years, he made an impact on so many people, and he continues to do that long after he has gone.”

There is no doubting, though, that however proud he would have been, and however proud Joanne is of what she and her family have achieved for him, the pain of losing him is still there.

Bobby's Base
Bobby’s Base

Joanne, 45, who’s married to David with whom she also has Bobby’s three brothers, Harry, 17, and 13-year-old twins Georgie and Frankie, sighs.

“Time doesn’t heal, but you learn to deal with it. I had this conversation with my eldest son only the other day; I don’t think you ever heal or it becomes easier, and unless you’re part of this life you don’t realise that.

“Sometimes it gets so hard that I can’t function, and sometimes there’s nothing that can help and that’s when I say to myself and my husband and the boys, you just have to write that day off.

“Go with your feelings and allow yourself a down day, we all have those, and then try to carry on the next day. Start again.

“The work with the Trust helps with that.

“We do a lot of work in schools – there is not a primary school in the area that doesn’t know the slogan, Slow Down for Bobby – and it’s nice to know that we are making a difference, that Bobby’s making a difference.

Bobby Colleran
Bobby Colleran

“It means we have to share a part of him to help make it safe, but he’d love to be looking out for others. Road accidents shouldn’t happen.

“When it did happen to us, and you can only imagine what it felt like, I said he was special, and he’s not going to die for nothing. I’m going to do something … and I’ve – we’ve – never stopped.”

Joanne says: “It is hard, but we deal with it in the only way we can and that’s with the positive work we have done.

“That’s the only way we can make sure that Bobby didn’t die in vain.”

For more info on The Bobby Colleran Trust click here. For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

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