Broughton High pupils heard yesterday that the tragic death of a Silverknowes teenager as a result of a motorbike accident was “one death too many”.
Over 40 students listened to a message from Annette Lothian, the Gran of 14-year-old Brad Williamson who died when from head injuries after being thrown from a motorcycle when it collided with a car.
Annette pleaded with the young people to understand the impact of their actions not only on themselves but on others around them.
Guidance teacher Kim Mitchelhill delivered the words on behalf of Annette to the pupils, aged between 11 and 15.
“When we spoke to Annette she expressed her concern for young people in the area.”
Kim recalled Annette’s final memory of her grandson. “The last thing she remembers is he fancied hamburgers in gravy for his tea and the next thing that happened was the police came to the door.
“But what really shocked Annette was that within 24 hours, there were young people back on bikes in the area.”
The event – aimed at encouraging pupils to talk about and address anti-social behaviour in their communities – was organised by Police Scotland and included representatives from the Scottish Ambulance Service, local youth groups Spartans and Pilton Youth Project and the Green Watch fire crew who attended Brad’s accident.
And as the tragedy of Brad’s passing hangs over the school, his friends struggle to deal with the hole he has left in everyday life. Close friend Alex Lipscombe said: “We used to muck about in school together, play Fifa when we got home, head into town and buy clothes or whatever and play football at Pilton Youth club and now it just doesn’t feel the same.
“Everything is so boring without him.”
Inspector Steve Sutherland urged the young people to take something away from the event. “We don’t want to see anyone else dying on a motorbike or a motor,” he said. “You are here with your pals right now and you want to make sure you finish school with your pals.”
The hard hitting discussion also saw the ambulance service and fire service employ shock tactics to drive home the message including gruesome images of injuries sustained by motorbike accident victims.
“I want them to consider the sights, sounds, atmosphere of the situation,” said Bruce Nisbet, Scottish Fire and Rescue crew manager. “The popping and cracking of a vehicle as it is removed from around a casualty and the impact that has not just on the people involved.”
Katie Little (13) and Elise Paton (14) are convinced the event will make people think harder about their choices. “We were just talking with the ambulance people who said that even just the slightest things can cause a crash and you’re left thinking how did that happen?” The girls are still reeling from Brad’s death and implore their peers to stay away from motorcycles. “You wouldn’t expect someone like Brad to go on a bike,” Elise said. “And now he’s not here today.” Katie said: “We live in Pilton, in an area where they are still doing it, you hear the helicopters going around, you can hear the motorbikes going up and down the roads so fast and it’s just horrible knowing that folk would actually still go on a bike knowing someone has just died because of it.”