The 25th of April marked ten years since the bus crash that forever changed the lives of Sarah, Victoria, Christopher, Pollyanna and the rest of the Hope family. But darkness was turned into light, and thanks to the fantastic support of family and friends they have helped hundreds of child amputees walk and go to school.
On the 6th of May, ELoH supporters came together to celebrate this at the Big Pink Party.
The tragic bus crash
On the morning of the 25th April 2007, Sarah was walking outside Mortlake Station with her mum Elizabeth and two-year-old daughter Pollyanna. They were going to visit her twin sister Victoria who had just given birth to her son Rollo. It was a sunny day and they were excited to see Victoria and Rollo. Then, all of a sudden, a bus appeared out of nowhere. It mounted the pavement at high speed and hit Sarah, Pollyanna and Elizabeth.
Sarah was severely injured, Pollyanna had to have her leg amputated below the knee, and Elizabeth tragically passed away. It was an event that changed the family forever. But it also brought them closer together and made them realise how lucky they were that they lived in a country where child amputees get the best support there is.
Sarah and Victoria started to read about the situation of child amputees in poorer countries and found that the vast majority receive no medical or emotional support, and that most of them live very lonely and isolated lives.
Turning darkness into light
Two years after the bus crash, Christopher wrote a a very moving article in the Telegraph. He told readers about the bus crash, the trauma his family had gone through, and their long journey back to normality. He also mentioned that Sarah was going to run a half marathon – despite injury and pain – to raise money for child amputees in developing countries.
Two days later, cheques worth hundreds of pounds began arriving in the post. By the following day, they had thousands of pounds. This carried on for weeks. Initially, Sarah and Christopher were going to give the money to charity, but it turned out that no charity was supporting child amputees in poor countries. So, Sarah and Victoria founded Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope – in memory of their mother and inspired by the bravery of Pollyanna.
ELoH and the Hope family
Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, or ELoH, was established on the 6th of May 2011. The first projects were established in Tanzania, and later our work expanded to Sierra Leone, Liberia and, most recently, to India. Through the projects, nearly 300 children have received long-term medical support, including prosthetics, surgery and physiotherapy. In addition, in Sierra Leone and Liberia more than 200 children also receive emotional support and support to go to school.
ELoH’s work draws on the experience of the Hope family and their deep understanding of the complex issues child amputees face. Through partnership with local organisations each project is tailored to the local needs of the children in the area.
With ELoH, the Hope family has been able to develop something unique. It has transformed the lives of hundreds of children and helped the Hope family to overcome the tragedy they have gone through.
But none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for all their fantastic friends, family and countless ELoH supporters – who were there after the accident, who donated money to our work, who have organised events, raised awareness and held fundraisers for ELoH. So, at the ten years after the accident, we brought everyone together for a Big Pink Party!
The Big Pink Party
On the 6th of May 2017, ELoH supporters and friends of the Hope family came together for the Big Pink Party in Barnes, London. The evening included lots of pink fizz, a three-course dinner, speeches, an auction and live music and dancing. BBC Radio’s Eleanor Oldroyd hosted the event, with contributions from Joanna Lumley, BBC’s Hugh Pym, ELoH’s Isabelle Trick, and Sarah, Vee and Christopher.
It was a wonderful evening with plenty of warmth, kindness and laughter. The event raised an amazing £33,000 – money that can provide full support to 110 children for a whole year. That’s fantastic!
A special thanks goes to Lori Shaul and Eleanor Oldroyd, without whom this event would never have been possible. And thanks EVERYONE who came to the party and contributed to ELoH. Your support throughout the past ten years and on this night has been invaluable. We hope to see you next time!
Media coverage of the ten year anniversary
‘Targedy brought family closer together’ – Christopher Hope in the Telegraph
‘My family was hit by a bus driver with road rage. TfL needs to treat staff better’ – Sarah Hope in the Guardian
‘Through tragedy, we’re helping other people…’ – Eastern Daily Press with words from Victoria Panton Bacon