I was getting ready for work early yesterday morning (Wednesday 14th March) when I heard the terrible news on the radio of the Swiss coach crash, which has left 28 people dead, including 22 children. I could hardly believe what I was hearing – such a horrific tragedy to befall anyone, let alone a small school community.
The tragic loss of so many young lives, returning from what was probably a fantastic holiday, an experience which would have enriched their young lives and broadened their horizons. I can’t imagine what the poor parents must be feeling. My emotional state was high, just imaging what they must be going through.
Being the Mum to two young boys, aged 11 and 7, and having ourselves enjoyed many family skiing holidays, our most recent at half term in Italy, I felt a pang of trepidation as my eldest has just started high school and is desperate to go on the school annual skiing trip, which invariably involves a coach trip to Italy, or France or Austria, as in recent years. Do I let him go? Momentarily, I did think about it.
But the answer is that of course I must let him go. Incidents like this, whilst incredibly tragic, are also incredibly rare, and it would be wrong to cease holidays, because the benefit they bring to those who attend and particularly children, is enormous and should not be underestimated. And it’s not just skiing holidays, it’s all sorts of activities and sports which children should experience as they grow up. These are activities which engage their imagination and help them to learn about so many things.
Yes, of course I will be anxious when he goes away, but you can’t keep your children wrapped up in cotton wool. They have to try new, and sometimes dangerous things to become all that they can, to thrive and reach their potential. Well managed risk is good for children, it enables them to develop skills and good common sense. It also teaches them to learn about being responsible, and have regard for themselves and others. It’s also important that they are aware of tragedies such as this, and have understanding and compassion for those who have died, and those who have lost their loved ones.
There is certainly no indication that anything involving this particularly trip was amiss, and there is currently no explanation for what appears to be a terrible accident. Indeed, the families involved may never know what actually caused the bus to crash. They are in my thoughts at this very difficult time.
By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney