Marching together in memory of Abbie

A torchlight procession took place in memory of Abbie McLaren on Sunday to call for better road safety
A torchlight procession took place in memory of Abbie McLaren on Sunday to call for better road safety

Over 1000 people took to the streets of Motherwell on Sunday to call for road safety improvements in The Loaning.

The torchlight procession was organised by Motherwell Community Group following the death of Dalziel High pupil Abbie McLaren last week.

Abbie McLaren

Abbie McLaren

The 12-year-old was rushed to Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children after being hit by a Citreon DS at around 4.15pm last Tuesday (February 12), but died of her injuries.

Dalziel High rector Robert Birch said: “She was a very popular, happy and talented girl who will be deeply missed by everyone at the school and her family is very much in all our thoughts.”

In a cruel twist her father John McLaren was a passenger in the car which was being driven by his cousin Martin McGuire.

McGuire (38) appeared in private at Hamilton Sheriff Court on Thursday charged with five offences including causing death by dangerous driving – he made no plea and was remanded in custody.

In addition to the torchlight procession over 13,000 people have signed a petition launched by Chrissy McCluskey hours after the accident calling on North Lanarkshire Council to introduce traffic control measures on the road.

It states: “I can’t imagine the pain and suffering the family are going through at this tough time and I think we all would not want it to happen to anyone again.”

This is not the first time residents of The Loaning have raised safety concerns, a previous petition was featured in the Times & Speaker, in July 2017, but North Lanarkshire Council claimed the Police data did not warrant action.

Scott Symington, who organised the torchlight petition, hopes that action will now to be taken to prevent another tragedy.

He said: “I was blown away with how many folks turned out and hopefully will lead to the changes we so much need as we cannot have another child or adult suffer like Abbie and her family ever again.”

“Thanks to every last one of you for making it a success, and I hope the councillors who took part in the walk will take back to the people in power that feet do really talk.

“I can honestly say I’m proud to be part of such an awesome and an amazing community and I hope Abbie’s family take some comfort by what they have either seen or heard of Sunday night.”

Motherwell West councillor Paul Kelly was among those who took part in the procession,

He said: “Thanks to the organisers, police, stewards, Mears, churches and businesses who supported the walk – I will do all I can to make sure action is taken.”

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows has written to the council calling for action.

She said: “The community is rightly heartbroken over what has happened and the response regarding the safety of the road has been overwhelming.

“North Lanarkshire Council must review how it determines an area as high risk and be prepared to listen to the people who use and live on these roads. Communities know best what they need.”

Abbie’s funeral service will take place at Crosshill Church on Saturday at 10.15am, everyone is requested to wear something purple.