Grieving daughter of drink-drive victim makes heartbreaking New Year plea

The daughter of a man who was killed by a dangerous driver has urged people not to drink drive this New Year.

Kelly Bolam, 24, lost her dad Gavin Bolam, 56, after he was hit by a drunk driver who, a court heard, had ordered six bottles of wine before getting behind the wheel.

Gavin Bolam was killed by a drink driver.

Gavin Bolam was killed by a drink driver.

Allan Denis Hale, 39, was jailed for six years after he mowed down father-of-two Gavin on April 9.

Gavin, of Hartleyburn Avenue, Hebburn, who worked as a printing sales director, was taken to hospital by paramedics but passed away.

After spending Christmas without her father, Gavin’s heartbroken daughter, Kelly, has joined police to warn drivers not to risk the devastating consequences of drinking and getting behind the wheel.

She said: “It’s important to get the message out there that it can impact on your own family as well as other people, I would say to drink drivers that they just need to think about what they are doing.

Kelly Bolam is warning the public not to drink and drive.

Kelly Bolam is warning the public not to drink and drive.

“The drink driver which killed my dad has absolutely devastated our family, but he has a family of his own who he has been without this Christmas.

“I would just say don’t put yourself or anyone else in that position.”

Kelly said since her father’s death, life has never been the same.

She said: “Getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not worth the consequences that you will face afterwards.

Gavin Bolam with his daughter Kelly Bolam.

Gavin Bolam with his daughter Kelly Bolam.

“You risk devastate your own life as well as other peoples. Life without dad is horrendous.

Kelly has been working with police as part of their Op Dragoon, which will see her visit schools and talk about the dangers and impact of drink driving in an effort to educate people from a young age.

Throughout December, Northumbria Police have been running an anti-drink and drug driving campaign.

Patrols have been mounted and officers have been using hi-tech equipment which has resulted in nearly 150 people being arrested or summonsed on suspicion of drink or drug driving.

Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, head of motor patrols, has said: “Kelly has been incredibly brave in coming forward to share the devastation that losing her father has caused to her entire family,” he said.

“She will never be able to spend Christmas and New Year with him again and she will look back at 2016 with sadness in her heart - all because of a mindless act of dangerous driving.

“This was one of the worst cases of driving I have seen in my career and Hale was caught on CCTV ordering six bottles of wine before getting behind the wheel that night.

“Others may choose to make the same decision this New Year but we would urge them to read this story and think twice - don’t start 2017 by causing the collision that costs another innocent life.”

If a member of the public suspects anyone of dangerous driving then they should contact the Op Dragoon team by ringing the 101 non-emergency number.

Drive for Justice

Around five people are killed on our roads every day and those responsible avoid jail or face minor custodial sentences of three to five years or less.

The Drive For Justice campaign - launched by Johnston Press papers across the country - has forced the Government to order a review into the sentences available for drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

The Government is undertaking a consultation into introducing tougher penalties for danger drivers.

The proposals include:

*Life sentences for causing death by dangerous driving.

*Life sentences for careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.

*New three year jail terms for careless drivers causing serious injury.

Offenders who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs could also be handed life sentences - an increase on the current 14 year upper limit.

It comes after the launch of our Drive for Justice campaign calling for tougher sentences.

Sign the Drive For Justice petition here: