Going for gold in memory of popular Crick schoolboy who died in tragic railway accident

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Much-loved Crick schooboy Harrison Ballantyne is the inspiration behind a life-saving rail safety campaign.

The 11-year-old tragically lost his life when he was electrocuted by overhead power cables after straying into a rail freight depot to retrieve a lost football in 2017.

Now Colas Rail UK has become Gold Partners with the Rail Safe Friendly (RSF) initiative to promote rail safety to schoolchildren.

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RSF was established as a digital education provider on the dangers of trespassing on the railways, reaching 4,000 schools nationwide.

Mother of Harrison Ballantyne and Harrison’s Story campaigner, Liz Ballantyne, then left to right - Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Head of Plant Operations, Tony Birrell, Learn Live UK Managing Director, Stuart Heaton, Colas Rail UK Freight Director, Simon Ball, Colas Rail Head of Freight Operations, Sep Semsarzadeh and Rugby Mayor Simon Ward.Mother of Harrison Ballantyne and Harrison’s Story campaigner, Liz Ballantyne, then left to right - Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Head of Plant Operations, Tony Birrell, Learn Live UK Managing Director, Stuart Heaton, Colas Rail UK Freight Director, Simon Ball, Colas Rail Head of Freight Operations, Sep Semsarzadeh and Rugby Mayor Simon Ward.
Mother of Harrison Ballantyne and Harrison’s Story campaigner, Liz Ballantyne, then left to right - Colas Rail UK CEO, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Head of Plant Operations, Tony Birrell, Learn Live UK Managing Director, Stuart Heaton, Colas Rail UK Freight Director, Simon Ball, Colas Rail Head of Freight Operations, Sep Semsarzadeh and Rugby Mayor Simon Ward.

The initiative was set up in early 2023 by Learn Live following the collaboration of Colas Rail UK, Learn Live and Network Rail (NR) on Harrison’s Story as part of NR’s ‘You Vs Train’ campaign.

Laura Cook, who is Rail Services Fatigue Manager at Colas Rail UK, is close friends with Harrison’s mum Liz.

She said: “We have to ensure that this never happens to another child, to another family.

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“There are so many dangers on the railway that people outside of the industry would not be aware of, at some point in life every child will be near a railway and need to be aware of these dangers and the possible consequences.”

Loved by everyone: Harrison Ballantyne.Loved by everyone: Harrison Ballantyne.
Loved by everyone: Harrison Ballantyne.

Harrison’s death instigated an educational project led by Colas Rail in conjunction with Network Rail, which has since grown and evolved into the RSF initiative.

Laura added: "We are thrilled to continue our efforts in supporting the project and becoming a Gold Member, sponsoring 150 schools across the UK to teach their pupils how to stay safe around railway tracks.”

Stuart Heaton, Managing Director of Rail Safe Friendly and Learn Live, said: “We are delighted to welcome Colas Rail UK to the RSF programme. Through their support we will be able to reach even more children with vital rail safety awareness with the aim of saving lives and preventing injuries on the country’s rail network and in yards, depots and sidings.

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“It is crucial that children receive vital knowledge, at a young age, to keep them rail safe. The RSF programme seeks to educate children and young people on the many dangers that are present on the railway.”

The launch took place at the Rugby depot last week and was attended by Rugby Mayor Simon Ward.

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