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Shoebury sisters help injured police cadet keep in touch with his friends
A CAMPAIGN set up in memory of a teenager killed in a car crash is now helping a badly-injured police cadet get his life back.
Twin sisters, Emily and Lauren Smoothy, who are behind the Driving with Grace road safety campaign, provided a special computer to 20-year-old Reece Clarke so he was able to contact friends from his hospital bed.
But his plight has been made easier thanks to the Driving With Grace camapaign, which was launched in memory of 14-year-old Eleanor McGrath of Bishopsteignton, Shoebury, who died after teenage driver Ben Gemmell lost control of his car and hit a group of youngsters in Tyrone Road, Thorpe Bay, in 2009.
Reece’s dad, Tubby, of Admirals Walk, Shoebury, said: “The computer has become a lifeline for Reece. It has been so good.
“He initially operated it visually, but he is now able to use his thumb and finger. At first the words were a bit jumbled, but now he writes really clearly. He is able to chat with his best friend in New Zealand.
“He’s on Facebook, and chats with his friends all the time.
“I want to say a very big thank you to the Driving with Grace Campaign, and to all the other fundraisers.”
Lauren and Emily, now 19, launched the campaign following Eleanor’s death, and have managed to raise £20,000 so far.
Part of that figure, £4,500, was spent on providing specialist equipment for Jack Horton, now 19, from Great Wakering.
Jack suffered terrible head injuries in the same crash which killed Eleanor.
The campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the consequences of irresponsible driving among young drivers and to support the victims of dangerous driving, has been a national success.
A 20-minute film about the crash has been viewed 33,000 times on the internet, while a DVD was sent to every secondary school in the UK.
The girls have also received celebrity backing from Joe Thomas, a star of the Inbetweeners.
A campaign spokesman said: “Everyone involved with Driving with Grace was delighted to be able to provide Reece with his much-needed computer, and would like to thank everyone who has been so generous in supporting this campaign.
“Emily and Lauren would also like to thank Eleanor’s family for their continual help and support.”
A fundraising calendar for Reece is being produced. For details e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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