Bereaved parents search for relatives of car crash victims nearly 40 years on

Robbin and Patsy Suffield, have campaigned for better protection for young drivers.
-Credit: (Image: Roadpeace)


The parents of a teenager killed in a horrific car crash are hoping to trace the relatives of two other teenagers who died alongside him. Robbin and Patsy Suffield, originally from Shirley, lost their 18-year-old son Neil in a fatal crash in Loughborough in 1986.

Five teenagers died, and one was left seriously injured, when a car driven by Neil's 17-year-old friend collided head-on with a bus. Since that day, the couple, who now live in Warwickshire, have dedicated their lives to campaigning for young drivers and passengers to be better protected.

The couple are eager to contact the other families bereaved by the Loughborough crash to inform them about the support available from the expanding Forget-Me-Not Families Uniting group, with the support of Roadpeace. They are one of dozens of bereaved parents calling on the government to bring in a graduated driving licence scheme to place restrictions on newly-qualified drivers.

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Mr and Mrs Suffield have managed to trace the families of two of the victims of the Loughborough crash, but they are also keen to track down the families of the other teenagers involved. They are Mark Adam Smoothy, from East Leake, Alan Edward Clarke, from Loughborough and Wayne Hughes from Coalville, who was seriously injured.

Speaking previously to BirminghamLive, Robbin, now 85, said: "We try not to think about the day Neil died, but what we're doing now is hopefully making amends. We don't want our son's death to be in vain.

"We've been campaigning on this for the best part of 40 years, but I don't think anything has changed."

Neil Suffield, 18, died in a fatal collision in 1986.
Neil Suffield, 18, died in a fatal collision in 1986. -Credit:Family Handout

The Suffields believe graduated driving licences could prevent future tragedies - and is a system that would have saved Neil’s life. If introduced, it would see drivers learn for a period of at least six months and have between 50 and 60 hours of practice on the roads before being allowed to take a test.

Once passed, graduated drivers would be unable to take passengers the same age as them inside the first six months of gaining their licence . They would also be unable to drive between midnight and 4am in this same six-month period.

Patsy Suffield said: "The government restricts young people's access to knives and alcohol, but vehicles are just as dangerous. When you lose someone in a traffic accident, it's not just the mother and father who are affected, it's also the wider family and friends - so many people.

"We've become more confident in talking about this issue over the years, but at one time it would have been too painful. We hope something can be achieved."