Reproduced here with permission of The Courier, November 8 2017, 7.47pm
The mother of tragic toddler Harlow Edwards has given a powerful and emotional road safety message to senior pupils in Angus.
Sara Edwards, 37, from Coupar Angus, spoke first-hand about the consequences of dangerous driving in what was the hardest-hitting Safe Drive Stay Alive yet.
Mrs Edwards was taking part in the annual programme for the first time at the Reid Hall in Forfar and pupils were reduced to tears as she delivered a bereaved parent’s perspective.
A tearful Mrs Edwards told how her life has been changed forever by the tragedy which claimed the life of her “wee shadow” and stunned the close-knit community in Perthshire during the October holidays last year.
Mrs Edwards, who was supported by her husband Steven, said she has to live with the consequences of what happened every day and wanted to speak out to encourage the pupils to make the right choices as drivers.
Texting driver Luke Pirie from Forfar was travelling at 50mph through the 30mph zone in Coupar Angus when he attempted to overtake a line of cars, lost control and mounted a pavement, hitting two-year-old Harlow, her older sister Dionne and a six-year-old boy.
Furious Pirie had been using his phone while driving to video call his partner Heather Eaton, who he suspected was cheating on him. He was jailed for six years after admitting driving dangerously.
Mrs Edwards told pupils it was not worth using their mobile phone just for that one call, stressing that it could always wait and the person “will still be there” afterwards.
She said: “It’s very difficult to talk about what happened but there’s a really worthwhile reason for doing this.
“Even if it gets through to just one person and makes a difference it will be worth it. We want to stop what’s happened to our family from happening to anyone else.
“We both feel really strongly about road safety and want to get the message out there to these kids that will soon be learning to drive, especially the responsibilities that come with driving.
“We have had really good support from our family and friends and the local community which has made a difference for us but our lives have changed forever and nothing is going to change that unfortunately.
“Speaking today is doing something positive and that’s part of Harlow’s legacy.”
Safe Drive Stay Alive co-ordinator Kevin Phillip from Scottish Fire and Rescue described Mrs Edwards as a “very determined young lady”.
“We are trying to get the pupils to understand that a whole lot of things can be affected by what can be a split-second decision,” he said.
“How would you feel if you had caused something like that? Do I want to answer that phone? Do I want to take that selfie in the car? It is real people and real lives that are affected by the choices we make.”
Pupils described the talk by Mrs Edwards as “life-changing” with one saying it was “the most powerful thing” they had ever seen.