When his younger brother died in a road traffic accident, devastated Henry Wellbelove turned to the Road Victims Trust for support.
Now, three years on, he has become an ambassador for the charity which helped him, and his family, through their loss.
This year marks the 21st Anniversary of the Trust, the only one of its kind in the UK. It provides emotional and practical help to all those affected by a road death in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
Henry and his brother, Archie, were students at The University of Warwick when 18-year-old Archie was killed after being hit by a taxi in his first term, in 2012.
Henry, 22, said: “In the immediate aftermath, the Trust provided my family with unwavering and invaluable support at a time when it seemed to all involved that the inexorable sense of despair would take hold. As a result of this, I feel very much indebted to the Trust.”
Having graduated from Warwick and now working full-time, Henry felt ready to give back to the charity, and hopefully encourage other young people to engage with it.
He said: “I have recently been in talks about my undertaking of an ambassadorial role with the Trust, a position which I am delighted to accept. My objective is to extend the reach of the charity through social media platforms, with a particular focus on drawing in a younger demographic.
“By increasing public awareness and the profile of the Trust, I aim to increase financial and practical support for this more-than-worthy cause.”
The Wellbelove family live in Biggleswade and have become great supporters of RVT.
Henry’s mother, Katie, said: “Archie was always a very happy and positive child and was lucky to be very bright academically, albeit he was very self-effacing.
“It sounds like a cliché, but he really did have a bright future ahead of him, which was snatched away in an instant.
“The police liaison officer who had the thankless task of informing us that our gorgeous child had been hit by a taxi and had not survived cannot be praised enough, and it was he who informed us about the existence of The Road Victims’ Trust.”
She continued: “I was later visited by a counsellor, which I found invaluable in the fog of my sudden loss. All the counsellors have themselves been in a similar situation to me and are therefore especially empathetic.
“For me, it was wonderful to be able to talk openly in total confidence to somebody removed from the situation who was sympathetic who would not judge me for my feelings.
“All I can say is, thank goodness they were there for us.”
Chief Executive Mark Turner said: “Each year over 80 people will be killed on the roads of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. That leaves a trail of absolute devastation. Henry has first-hand experience of this and I know will be a real asset in promoting the valuable work of the Trust. We are proud to have him on-side”
Last year the Trust supported in excess of 400 people who had been affected by a road death.
>> You can support RVT by taking part in its summer of fun activities, which include The Great Escape, in May, and The Colour Rush obstacle course, in June. Or face your fears by riding Europe’s longest zip wire, in March, or doing a tandem skydive in April.
For more information, go to www.rvtrust.org.uk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org