Roadside memorials
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Roadside memorials

We all drive past them - a mother's flowers recently placed where a young life ended.  Ten lives lost this way daily in Britain alone.  We shed a tear, say a prayer, and drive more carefully - just as we should.  

Some people dislike being reminded of tragedy, or find the flowers untidy or overly sentimental, and few would want all roadside verges given over to memorials.  But that's alright.  The bereaved only place them where their loved ones died.   Flowers decay and stones get overgrown.  Who could improve on that?

Politicians think they can.   These posters have recently appeared all over Nottinghamshire - three on a half-mile stretch of A616 near me.  Four feet tall, garish yellow, with a clever design mimicking flowers tied to the lampposts.  The County Council have appropriated roadside memorials for their road safety campaign.   

flower memorial council.JPG (130885 bytes)

What are they thinking of?  How can they use such cheap facsimiles of grief to advance their nannying agenda?  

Nor will they do much good.  Of course people would be wise to drive more carefully, but we can't ever be perfectly safe.  Every time we press the accelerator we save ourselves a little journey time at a small risk of losing everything.  These signs desensitise us to the real thing.  

To redress the balance here are some real memorials.    

Ryan, A616, Cresswell to Cuckney.  Photographed March 2006

road mem ryan a616 cresswell to cuckney2.JPG (380163 bytes)

14 year old Tom Mann.  Bridge over the Devon in Newark 12 September 2003 

tom mann.JPG (909690 bytes)

St Mary's parish church, Whitby, overlooking the harbour.  

memorial flowers st mary's whitby.JPG (113831 bytes)

Perhaps in memory of a drowned sailor.

Sophie - Newark to Averham road April 2006

sophie2.JPG (355650 bytes)   sophie.JPG (371065 bytes)

"Big Al" near Haverholme.  

near haverholme.JPG (688543 bytes)    near haverholme2.JPG (276682 bytes)

Anonymous near West Bretton, South Yorkshire May 2006

west bretton.JPG (412961 bytes)

Flowers fade and some forget, but mothers don't.  


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Last modified: November 12, 2006