A family changed forever

The Wellbelove family was changed forever the day their middle child Archie was killed in a road collision, while walking home from a university night out in December 2012.
 The Family Wellbelove
Archie’s mum Katie hopes her son’s memory can be used to support other families experiencing the same pain, and to remind motorists and pedestrians alike of the importance of staying safe on the road.
 
Archibald Felix Lister Wellbelove was the middle child of three, having an elder brother, Henry, and a younger sister, Mathilda.

Archie was always a very happy and positive child and was lucky to be very bright academically, albeit he was very self-effacing.

When Archie was killed, so many people used the term ‘loveable rogue’, as, as well as being bright, he was very cheeky and naughty and one never knew what high jinks he was going to be up to next.

Archie WellbeloveOften I would see him making his own way to the naughty step when he knew he had done something wrong. He could be naughty during his childhood, but he was very, very loving and caring. It’s so nice to have the good memories.

When we got the fateful knock at the door from a Bedfordshire Police family liaison officer, Archie had just started his first term at Warwick University, having just turned 18.

It sounds like a cliché, but he really did have a bright future ahead of him, which was snatched away in an instant.

I was still cleaning my teeth – my husband and I were just about to leave for the gym when the police car pulled up outside.

The police liaison officer who had the thankless task of informing us that our gorgeous child had been hit by a taxi and had not survived cannot be praised enough.

How on earth they do that job I don’t know. It must take a real toll on them personally. He was a lovely chap, and it was he who informed us about the existence of The Road Victims’ Trust.

For me, it was wonderful to be able to talk openly in total confidence to somebody removed from the situation, who was sympathetic and would not judge me for my feelings.

I was able to discuss things I was unable to raise with even my most intimate friends and family.

Archie’s death was ruled as a horrific accident. We were told he was killed instantly – thank goodness he didn’t suffer.

I feel for the poor taxi driver. There were no streetlights on at the time Archie was hit and he couldn’t see him on the road.

We are going to be affected for the rest of our lives, but so is he.

At Archie’s inquest, the driver stayed till the very end. I know he was waiting for us to berate him.

But I took the chance to hug him and tell him I felt no malice or blame towards him.

I am known as Mrs Exact-Miles-Per-Hour. I have always been careful on the roads – even before Archie’s death – but now I want to scream at those speeding or using their mobile phones at the wheel.

If you’re ever in a rush to get to work or go for a coffee, try to remember it’s not that important – because you don’t know what it means to have someone you love killed on the road.

Since that day, we as a family have become involved in various events for the Trust, trying in any way we are able to help out in any small way we can.

All I can say is, thank goodness they were there for us.

Read our previous blogs from Sergeant Chris Smith and PC Sam Sparkes.

The Road Victims Trust (RVT) is a Bedfordshire-based registered charity that provides free emotional and practical support to anyone affected by a road death across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
 
The Trust is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary.
 
Each year there are between 75 and 85 deaths across the three counties.
 
The RVT works in partnership with the three police forces to offer support to those affected by road deaths.
 
Unique service level agreements with police mean that the Trust provided support to more than 250 people last year.
 
The support is delivered by local counselling volunteers supervised by a team of highly-skilled professional staff. The face to face counselling support continues for as long as is useful, which in some cases can be over two years.
 
To find out how you can help the charity, contact chief executive Mark Turner at markt@rvtrust.co.uk

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