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Article date - 12 March 2018
On the afternoon of Friday 24 March, 2017, four-year-old Violet-Grace was waiting to cross Prescot Road with her grandmother Angela French when they were hit by an out of control, stolen speeding car which was doing in excess of 70mph in a 30mph zone.
The incident left Mrs French seriously injured in hospital for several weeks – but tragically, Violet-Grace passed away in her parents’ arms a day later.
Since that fateful day which shocked the entire country, the council has been working closely with the Youens Family and Merseyside Police to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding through traffic enforcement operations which involved Violet-Grace’s parents, Rebecca and Glenn Youens, making an emotional plea for motorists to drive safely by sharing their own harrowing ordeal.
Paying tribute to the Youens family, St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: “The strength and bravery shown by Rebecca, Glenn and the rest of the family this past year has touched all of our hearts, and as a parent myself, I couldn’t even begin to understand what it’s been like for them.
“The anniversary of Violet-Grace’s passing is going to be tough – but I hope the family can take some comfort in knowing that they will be in the thoughts of so many.
Councillor Grunewald continued: “We’ve all seen the beautiful pictures of Violet-Grace in the media wearing her superhero costumes, and she became a superhero herself after her passing by giving the gift of life through organ donation so that other poorly children can live.
“It’s important that we remember incredible people like Violet-Grace, and lighting the Steve Prescott Bridge up for these types of occasions is always a special symbol of how St Helens stands with its own during the dark times.”
In a statement, Rebecca and Glenn Youens said: “This is a very difficult time of year for us, as it reminds us nearly one year has passed since we held our beautiful Violet-Grace.
“Our lives have been torn apart, and that piece of our hearts has been taken away. We thank all those who remember Violet, as we are so scared she will be forgotten.
“We are fundraising and campaigning to keep Violet’s memory alive in all those who knew her, and the community.
“Violet is a beautiful soul, so full of life and happy. She always wanted to help others, even at such a young age. We must carry on her legacy, so she can continue to help others, and keep her loving memory alive.
“We thank St Helens Council for lighting up the bridge in honour of Violet-Grace Susan Youens, a little angel aged 4. “
Violet-Grace’s family continues to help people in the community to face the bereavement of a child, and to raise awareness of organ donation. See the group’s page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/violetgrace.gift or donate to their fundraising page
Violet-Grace’s Gift Mission Statement:
Violet-Grace gave the gift of life through organ donation when she was tragically killed aged 4. Violet-Grace’s Gift has been created in her loving memory to promote organ donation, help local hospitals, community projects, bereaved parents and seriously ill children.