Newry Woman Rita Bentley has won an award at the recent NI Road Safety Awards for her tireless road safety campaign work and fundraising.

A spokesperson for the awards commented "The winner is an inspirational lady from Newry, who knows the pain and suffering caused by losing a loved one on the road after her partner John Paul was killed in September 2014.

"Since the tragedy, she has worked tirelessly to spread the road safety message across the Newry, Mourne and Down district and beyond.  She was the driving force behind setting up a local road safety committee, who organise and deliver many activities for vulnerable road user groups.  Whilst campaigns on drink driving, wearing high visibility clothing and mobile phones have been rolled out.

"In particular she has developed a road safety talk and resources for young children, which has received such great feedback from local schools

Rita Bentley receives her award
Rita Bentley receives her award

"To ensure the committee has funds to continue its work, the winner has taken part in many fundraising initiatives, most recently completing the Dublin Marathon in October."

The awards, now in their fourth year, are organised by Road Safe NI Charity and leading accident management specialist, CRASH Services.  A total of 14 awards were presented at an event attended by more than 100 specially invited guests at Cultra Manor, Holywood.

Pat Martin MBE, Chairperson of Road Safe NI said “We had a fantastic response to the awards again.  There is such a vibrant and committed road safety community working all over Northern Ireland.  We are delighted to play our part in recognising those who go the extra mile.  The winning entries really stood out for their efforts over a long period of time and for delivering innovative projects."

Jonathan McKeown, CEO of CRASH Services, said: “As a business with close connections to road users we are honoured to support the NI Road Safety Awards. We congratulate everyone for their extraordinary commitment to road safety."

Winners across the various categories were Moorfields Primary School, Ballymena  (Primary School), Michael Feeney, Greenhaw PS, Derry/ Londondery (Lollipop Person), St.Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick (Secondary School), Danny Toland (Driving Instructor), NIFRS Station Officer Peter Melarkey, Inspector Andrew Wilson and Constable Syd Henry (Emergency Services), Rita Bentley, Newry and Barry McGuigan, Lurgan (Voluntary Sector), Musgrave Truck Safe (HGV), Translink Safety Bus (Business), Air Ambulance Northern Ireland – (Special Merit), UGP Motorcycle Awareness Project 2018 (Two Wheels) and Brian McMinn (Lifetime Achievement).

There were also six highly commended entries who will each receive a framed certificate.  Category sponsors included the Department for Infrastructure, U105, New Driver NI, Hankook Tyres, Applegreen, JMK Solicitors and Drive Tech, part of the AA and TCTS Group

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