2017 Mansoor Chaudhry Award for Outstanding Contribution to RoadPeace
Brigitte Chaudhry MBE
The inaugural ‘Mansoor Chaudhry Award’ was awarded to Brigitte Chaudhry MBE, RoadPeace’s Founder and President in recognition and thanks for all that she has done for RoadPeace and crash victims. Her daughter Hameeda accepted the award on her behalf:
“When my brother was killed, on 27th October 1990, aged 26, I was just 15 years old. He was my only sibling and he was extremely important in our small family.
His horrific death by a red light offender and its trivial treatment have totally changed mine and my mother’s lives. My mother became a campaigner fighting for justice, not only for Mansoor but for all road victims, and during my growing up years RP was all around me. I became involved myself, helping with all kinds of jobs when the office was in our house for the first 6 years, and then in an office close to home during the next 10 years.
Right from the start, my mother saw very clearly what was wrong with the way road deaths and injuries were treated by the authorities and all respective agencies. This was instrumental in deciding the main focus for RoadPeace’s future work.
RoadPeace was launched on 8th February 1992 with the first ever UK helpline for road victims. It was manned solely by my mother for the first 6 years, after which she remained a helpline volunteer for a further 10 years, together with many dedicated colleagues. The evidence from victims, which my mother collected via questionnaires during the initial years, provided the motivation and inspiration for many of RoadPeace’s initiatives, also for establishing the charity as a very strong campaigning organization.
These are some of the campaigns, initiatives and publications during the 16 years my mother was National Secretary, working 70 – 100 hours most weeks:
- ‘Road Crash’ not ‘Road Accident’ Campaign since 1992
- RoadPeace Guide through the Aftermath of Road Death, 1994
- Campaign for Justice for Road Traffic Victims, including an All Party Parliamentary Group – from 1998 to 2008
- August National Road Victim Month since 1997
- RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum since 2002
- Annual lectures and Inter-professional conferences
- Remember Me roadside memorials, since 2003
- Guide for MPs, 2003
- When Lives Collide project from 2004-2006
- Campaigning for law change during 15 years
- Establishing the World Day of Remembrance with FEVR in 1995 and promoting its adoption by the United Nations, achieved in 2005
- Creating the World Day website, launched in 2008, remaining its editor to this day.
In March 2003, 11 years after she set up RoadPeace, my mother was awarded an honorary MBE for her work. It was presented to her by Lord Falconer, then Minister for victims, at a special event in the House of Commons. We learnt that the application for an honour was made by RoadPeace’s patrons and committee members.
I will read quotes from some of the supporting letters:
Colin Ettinger, Personal Injury Lawyer & Patron of RoadPeace: “…..there is no doubt that RP would not have grown to its size and credibility had it not been through the hard work, conscientiousness and sheer ability of Brigitte. She is just about the most dedicated person I have met. She is committed to improving the lot of road crash victims, as well as road safety. Her continuous drive and support of these aims is quite simply formidable…..”
Nicholas Atkinson Criminal QC & Patron of RoadPeace: “…I have seen Brigitte Chaudhry’s working methods and infectious enthusiasm. …she has continued to inspire others by her determination. My experience of seeing her work has involved television and radio interviews, public conferences, and meetings with members of Parliament and ministers. She has always impressed me and has equally impressed others. Whilst I am aware that RP is run by many devoted volunteers and committees, I always associate the charity with its dynamic founder.”
Noreen Tehrani, Clinical Psychologist & Patron of RoadPeace:”…I am constantly amazed at the level of press coverage and national impact achieved by this small charity under Brigitte’s guidance….”
Jay Calascione, Bereaved mother, Committee Member & Helpline volunteer: “…Because of RP, there is now a network dedicated to advice and reform. It would not have happened without Brigitte. She has committed herself completely to this cause and she has stayed the course when so many others have not. I believe she has created an environment for change and that because of her selfless service there is a glimmer of hope that ….the carnage must stop…”
John Stewart, RP Chair & Advisor:”…Brigitte Chaudhry’s achievements have been immense…she has built up RP from an organisation that operated in a bedroom of her house to one with a budget of over £100,000 per year, employing 5 staff…But perhaps most impressively, RoadPeace, from the smallest and most tragic of beginnings, has become a respected charitable organisation whose views are sought by government ministers, civil servants, magistrates, lawyers, transport organisations and the police ….the undoubted driving force behind the success of the organisation has been Brigitte Chaudhry. It has been her vision, her determination and her dedication that has made the organisation what it is today…..”
These quotes reflect my own feelings of admiration for my mother and her achievements and I am very happy that RoadPeace is today acknowledging her crucial part in the formation and direction of the charity. And also that the 25-year-award carries the name of my brother, who was a very special person – not only to us, but also to his many friends.
This is what one of them wrote about him after his death:
“Mansoor was one of the most dynamic people I ever met. He was a leader – self-confident, hardworking, intelligent, almost a manic achiever. On a personal level, he was a very close friend. He took profound interest in his friends’ lives – he wanted his friends to succeed and would support them in every way, including financially…..He was killed at a time when he was happy and fulfilled and when he was on the verge of his ambitions coming to fruition.”
I’d like to end with a message from my mother:
Congratulations to RoadPeace on having reached its silver jubilee – a very important milestone! Thanks are due to staff and committee for carrying on with the sadly still much needed campaigning work and to all members, patrons and sponsors for their ongoing support. Very best wishes to all!