Safety campaign after girl in accident

A MOTHER and father have today vowed to start a petition demanding their town's roads be made safer after an accident left their daughter fighting for her life.

A MOTHER and father have today vowed to start a petition demanding their town's roads be made safer after an accident left their daughter fighting for her life.

Avril and Andrew Clarke have thought twice about road safety after watching their little girl struggle to survive a collision on a busy Stowmarket street earlier this month.

They say the dangers in the town are startling and are confident neighbours will support their campaign.

The pair are now concentrating on seeing eight-year-old Chelsea make a full recovery from her head injuries, but over the coming weeks are starting a petition for more cycle paths in the town - something they say could have prevented their agony.

Mrs Clarke, of Bridge Street, said: "This town really needs more cycle paths and it's a pity it took Chelsea's accident to make people realise it.

"We are part of a neighbourhood watch and want them to help us get a petition together."

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Mr Clarke added: "With the new estates in Stowmarket it's no surprise more children are coming into the town centre and from roads like ours there are no cycle paths.

"There may be one or two in the town but it's nowhere near enough."

Combs Ford Primary School pupil Chelsea was knocked off her bike in a collision with a VW Golf car on Ipswich Road on June 4.

She spent nearly two weeks fighting for her life in Cambridge's Addenbrooke's hospital, where doctors feared her brain may suffer swelling, but returned home last week.

As well as serious head injuries she also broke a leg, arm, shoulder and finger.

"I didn't know much about my first days in hospital but when I woke up I really missed my family," she said.

"I might be going back to school next month for a few hours a day but at the moment I can't walk around much and am too tired."

Mr and Mrs Clarke, who have a son Daniel, Chelsea's twin, and 15-year-old daughter Lea-Anne, have also criticised the 'boy racers' who use their neighbourhood as a racetrack.

Mrs Clarke said: "It wasn't a racer who hit Chelsea but they are adding to the problem in this area.

"You here them zooming up and down the narrow streets and are afraid to let your children go out.

"We've always taught our kids to be careful but there's only so much you can do with those maniacs about."

Mr Clarke added: "Until Chelsea came home we were numb and couldn't think about anything but her getting better.

"Now she's on the mend we can think about the future and this petition seems the way forward.

"We are determined to do it once Chelsea is up and around.

"You can't wrap your children up in cotton wool but this accident has made a lot of people in Stowmarket worry about letting their children out."

Suffolk County Council says it has made proposals for more cycle paths in Stowmarket which are currently under consideration. A public consultation is due to be held before the end of July.

Would you support a petition for more cycle paths in Stowmarket? Write to the Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, email or visit the forum at

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