For the first time in nine years, ELoH’s co-founder and trustee Sarah Hope boarded a bus as Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched the Sarah Hope Line; a helpline for those affected by life-changing and fatal injuries in London’s transport network.
It was an emotional moment for Sarah who nine years earlier had been victim of a terrible bus collision that killed her mother Elizabeth and injured her two-year old daughter Pollyanna so badly she had to have her leg amputated. The collision forever changed the lives of Sarah and her family and the bus driver was convicted for dangerous driving. Yet, no support was offered to the Hope family by Transport for London. Sarah says:
“There wasn’t even a sorry from them. We were a number, an insurance claim, not a person. They didn’t listen to our needs. I wanted kindness, just a voice of kindness. We went through endless assessments, this went on for five years. I needed somebody on the end of the line to listen to my concerns and offer practical support and advice. Someone to say, ‘I’m so sorry for what has happened to you and what can we do to help?’.”
Now, nine years later, Sarah has not only received an apology from Transport for London but she has also got them set up a support service for all victims of London transport accidents. The Sarah Hope Line will be manned by 12 people and it will offer practical and emotional support for those affected by accidents. It is part of an ambitious TfL programme to improve bus safety in London, something which Sarah has campaigned on for a long time. She says:
“I am delighted that Boris Johnson and Transport for London have listened to me and established the Sarah Hope Line for victims of collisions on London’s roads. TfL and Boris Johnson are putting their arms around victims of these tragic accidents on London’s public transport system. The Line will be a ‘voice of kindness’ for the victims of collisions and ensure that even in their darkest hour there will someone from TfL to try to help them through it.”
The Sarah Hope Line was launched on the 28th of April 2016 outside Transport for London’s office in Greenwich. Sarah boarded a bus for the first time since the collision in 2007, accompanied by her twin-sister Victoria Bacon, husband Christopher Hope and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The Mayor said:
“I am pleased to welcome the Sarah Hope Line, which will support people involved in serious incidents on the transport network. The Line is the result of Sarah and Christopher Hope’s indefatigable work and the dedication from staff at TfL.”
Sarah would like to send a massive thank you to everyone who made this possible, including her family, the Transport for London staff and the Mayor of London.