November marks a significant occasion for the charitable sector – National Trustee Week. It’s a time to celebrate the often-unsung heroes of the charity world – the trustees. These individuals, selflessly committed to making a difference, are the backbone of organisations like RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims.
Being a trustee for RoadPeace is not just a role; it’s a profound commitment to change lives, raise awareness, and bring solace to those affected by road collisions. Our small charity could not function without the unwavering support of its board of trustees.
Our extraordinary trustees are:
Brigitte Chaudhry MBE, RoadPeace Founder and President
RoadPeace was founded in 1992 by Brigitte, after her 26-year-old son, Mansoor, was killed by a driver who ignored a red light. The offender was only fined £250 for ‘a minor traffic offence’.
Brigitte quickly learned 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.
Speaking of her role, now as a trustee, Brigitte said: “The best thing about being a RoadPeace trustee is knowing that one is part of an organisation that is dealing with very serious, indeed life and death, issues, which have been neglected and disregarded for too long and therefore deserve a much changed and fairer response. Campaigning for this change, together with the people who have suffered bereavement and injury, and in addition a trivial legal response, is a very worthwhile dedication of our time and efforts.”
Petra Kendall-Raynor, Chair of Trustees
Petra has a professional background in journalism and 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, Treasurer
Matt Oomen is Global Head of Distribution for BNY Mellon Investment Management and Chief Executive Officer of BNY Mellon Investment Management EMEA Ltd.
He became involved with RoadPeace after his brother-in-law, Eddy, was killed in a road crash. Matt is looking forward to supporting RoadPeace in delivering its strategy and support business development.
Speaking of his role, he said: “Roadpeace is a victim-centred charity run by a small, passionate team and an amazing network of local groups and volunteers. As a Trustee, I know that I am giving time to a charity where I can see the immediate impact of the work done every day. It is truly grounding and humbling.
“Like many people involved in Roadpeace, I had a direct introduction to its work through the needless death of my truly wonderful, kind and peaceful brother-in-law, Eddy Lee. I saw firsthand what the results of dangerous driving can do to families and the flaws in justice. I also saw the amazing support services Roadpeace provided.”
Nic Atkinson QC, Secretary
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 said: “Death on the roads is dealt with as a Road Traffic Offence. It has always been my view and it remains, that it should be dealt with as Homicide. Such a classification would reflect the views of those in society affected by these tragedies on the road, and would result in greater attention and importance given to the investigation by the police, the involvement of the CPS and the Courts.”
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.
David is a survivor of a lorry crash in which both his mother and father were killed. 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.
He was also involved in a separate hit and run, whilst cycling home from work in 2012. He was cut off by a lorry at a junction and his bicycle went underneath. He had to take a protracted leave of absence from work to recover. The police were unable to track down the vehicle so David took the investigation into his own hands. He found the company and the driver.
The culprit was fined and given points on his licence. To prevent further incidents like this, he took civil action. The company settled out of court, paying a substantial sum in costs and compensation.
David is a life and resilience coach with a specialism in post-bereavement intervention.
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.
Alex has first-hand experience of dealing with the consequences of a fatal road crash that resulted in the death of two close relatives. As a Trustee, she is committed to using her skillset to help RoadPeace reach people in need of support and do everything she can to promote RoadPeace’s principle of road danger reduction.
Read more about our trustees here
Updated on: 6 November 2023