Drink-drive poem wins SERP competition

SERP poem comp

A poem which highlights the dangers of drink-driving has won the Safer Essex Roads Partnership’s (SERP) in-house road safety poetry competition.

The in-house competition was open to all employees of Essex Highways, which comprises Essex County Council and Ringway Jacobs, as well as SERP members and partners.

The competition was one of two organised by SERP as part of Project EDWARD 2017* – the other was open to all schools in Essex, Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea, with the winners to be announced at a presentation ceremony on 6 December.

The in-house competition was won by Eric Ovel (right), a maintenance technician at Essex County Council, and Jackie Roerig (second left), a permitting officer at Ringway Jacobs, for their poem ‘I Wish’.

Eric is based at the Essex Highways’ Springfield depot and works out on the roads every day helping to make sure problems are fixed, while Jackie works alongside him to ensure all the necessary permits are in place to allow the scheduled works to be delivered as planned.

The pair generously decided to donate the £100 prize to Farleigh Hospice, which provides care to people affected by life-limiting illnesses across Essex.

The photo shows Eric and Jackie presenting the cheque to Farleigh Hospice, accompanied by Nicola Foster (second right), chairman of SERP.

Nicola Foster described Jackie Roerig as a ‘prolific poet who also won our competition last year, and said the winning joint entry (coming from an Essex CC and a Ringway Jacobs employee) was ‘a great combination which highlights the true partnership working within our integrated contract’.


The winning poem – ‘I Wish’

I wish I hadn’t had that last drink
Why didn’t I just take the time to think?
But we were having such a laugh
And I only had another half

I wish I hadn’t got in my car
I could have walked, it’s not that far
I really thought it would be ok
To get in my car and drive that day

I wish I had been more aware
That it’s not enough to drive with care
I saw him crossing a bit too late
My reactions slow to hit the brake

I wish I could have shut out that sound
Of his body as it hit the ground
The awful noise of screeching brakes
The ugly scars the tyres make

I wish I hadn’t lost control
And my car hadn’t crashed into that pole
It went through the screen and hit my head
I didn’t think I would wind up dead

I wish I had been able to survive
I wish that I was still alive
I wish I could hug my children aged 2 and 5
I wish I could tell them to never drink and drive


*Project EDWARD 2017
Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death) 2017 took place on 21 September and looked to encourage drivers, riders and pedestrians to spare an extra thought for their safety.

Conceived by TISPOL – the European Traffic Police Network – in 2016, the long-term aim is to use Project EDWARD to spearhead significant and sustained reduction in death and serious injury on roads across the world.

In Essex, SERP supported Project EDWARD 2017 with more than a dozen road safety-related events across the county.

The events staged across Essex ranged from young driver activities to pedestrian training, Bikeability cycle training, community speed watch and a ‘surround a town’ event in Chelmsford.


28 November 2017

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