Brigitte Chaudhry MBE
RoadPeace Founder and President
When Brigitte’s only son, Mansoor aged 26, was horrifically killed in October 1990 by a van driver who had ploughed into him whilst driving through a junction with lights already red for a long time, she was shocked at the shabby treatment of his innocent death. Brigitte quickly learnt that the response to a road death, however blameless the victim and reckless the offender, was worlds apart from the response to a violent death caused by someone in other circumstances. She protested through legal actions in the High Court – eventually three judicial reviews over five years. She found other people who were bereaved through letters in newspapers and approaches to Compassionate Friends, and she documented their experiences.
These experiences made it clear that a grave injustice was being perpetrated and suffered. Together with some of the people she met, Brigitte decided that to challenge the casual attitude to road casualties and offer support to the victims, a dedicated organisation needed to be set up, since none existed and no-one spoke up for road victims. RoadPeace’s first meeting was held around Brigitte’s dining table in 1991 and the organisation began in 1992 with the first ever helpline for road crash victims, which she manned at the same time as developing the organisation.
As National Secretary, Brigitte has been involved with the day-to-day work of RoadPeace for 16 years, stepping down at the 7th April 2008 conference, which celebrated RoadPeace’s 15 years of pioneering work since its public launch on the same date in 1993. Brigitte’s engagement with RoadPeace continues in her role as president, but she was also working at international level for road crash victims: from 2004 to 2010 she has been President of FEVR (European Federation of Road Traffic Victims) and in collaboration with the World Health Organisation she continued to develop and promote the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, resulting in this Day now being celebrated throughout the whole world following its adoption by the United Nations in 2005. Brigitte was at the origin of this day in 1993 and is also the author of theWorld Day websitelaunched in early 2008, and was its editor until December 2017.
For more of Brigitte’s experiences please read the following:
Hidden Victims – how RoadPeace began
Chair of Trustees
Petra has a professional background in journalism, with extensive experience in print, broadcast and digital news, including digital start-ups. She has worked for the national press writing for national and international news agencies in both London and Los Angeles. Petra has also specialised in health journalism and has written across journals for the publishing arm of the Royal College of Nursing. She currently works in communications for the NSPCC.
Petra’s father Thomas died after he was hit by a car when crossing a road as a pedestrian. She has volunteered for RoadPeace since 2018 helping with her local North West group and nationally as Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2022. Petra believes in the importance of collaboration in working towards the prevention of tragedy on the roads.
Matt Oomen is Global Head of Distribution for BNY Mellon Investment Management and Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon Investment Management EMEA Ltd. Matt is responsible for the formation and execution of distribution strategy and has oversight of Product Strategy, Marketing and Sales across multiple regions for BNY Mellon Investment Management, one of the world’s largest asset managers, with $1.8 trillion of assets under management.
Nic Atkinson QC
Before retiring in 2019 Nic practiced as a barrister for almost 50 years, more than half that time as a QC, and as a part time Judge for 35 years. Nic says: ‘It became clear to me many years ago that the public were very poorly served by the criminal law in respect of crashes that resulted in death. I was involved in a trial where five children sitting on a bench had been killed by a disqualified driver who lost control of his car whilst racing on a public road.
Cynthia Barlow OBE
Cynthia’s only child and daughter, Alex Jane McVitty, was tragically killed on 7 June 2000, aged 26. She was cycling in the City of London when the driver of a concrete mixer lorry turned left across her path.
Cynthia’s experience of the investigation, inquest and the court proceedings were painfully disappointing and isolating. She was compelled to carry out her own analysis of what had happened and drew her own conclusions of the responsibilities that needed to be taken by the driver and by his employer. She bought shares in the company and attended their Annual General Meeting, speaking out about what had happened to her daughter and offering suggestions for what the company should be doing to prevent further injuries or loss of life.
In 2011 Cynthia was shortlisted as an SMK Campaigner Award Finalist. In 2014 Cynthia was awarded an OBE for services to road safety. Cynthia was Chair of Trustees until January 2022.
David is a survivor of a lorry crash in which both his mother and father were killed. His mother a couple of days before his 7th birthday and his father a couple of days afterwards. He had two broken legs. David has first-hand experience of the life changing impact careless driving causes. This experience has given him a deep sense of empathy and a desire to help other victims of crashes.
Alex is a senior marketing professional who has worked with a range of organisations over the last three decades to deliver strategic marketing and communications. She has also worked in a voluntary capacity with the City of London division of Cancer Research UK to raise funds.