Tragic death leads to better way to school for Woodborough pupils

This Is Wiltshire: Lollipop lady Emma Dexter helps head teacher Sarah Brewis and children cross the road on the new crossing Lollipop lady Emma Dexter helps head teacher Sarah Brewis and children cross the road on the new crossing

Pupils at Woodborough School – where six-year- old Finlay Connor died last year after being struck by a school bus – now have a safe path to use from the parents’ car park at the village Social Club, as well as a lollipop patrol to see them safely over the road.

Finlay died and his mother Niki sustained severe crush injuries after they were knocked down by the bus as it moved off after dropping pupils at the school.

Bus driver Adrian Shear-ing, 53, from Trowbridge, was jailed for 28 months at Winchester Crown Court after admitting causing death by dangerous driving. The sentence was later reduced to ten months by the Criminal Appeal Court.

Finlay had died by the time he arrived at Great Western Hospital by air ambulance.

His mother spent weeks in Frenchay Hospital and is still receiving treatment and therapy for her injuries.

In the aftermath of the tragedy Woodborough Road Safety Group was formed, with members from the school and parish council, to see how to reduce the dangers children faced walking to school along Broad Street, which is a rat-run for cars and lorries taking a short cut between Marlborough and the Pewsey Vale.

The safety group came up with the idea of a path around the field that separates the school from the social club and, after campaigning for support, won a £6,000 grant from Pewsey Area Board that, together with donations from the parish council and the school PTA, has funded the new path.

Land owners Francis and Liz Naumann have given a free eight-year lease for the path, which has been fenced by Mark Sheen of Wootton Woodland on a cost-only basis.

The children no longer have to walk along any roads from the social club to the school but do have to cross Broad Street where a lollipop crossing has been introduced.

Woodborough parent Emma Dexter, who is a mid day supervisor, sees the children and parents across the road.

Safety group chairman John Brewin said: “It was Finlay’s death that triggered all this activity and brought a focus on the need to have a safe route for Woodborough children to walk to school.”

Head teacher Sarah Brewis said: “The path has been used for about a month and it has been warmly embraced by all.”

The school has won a Wessex Watermark from Wessex Water towards the Finlay Connor Memorial Garden that pupils are about to start planting.

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