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Family return to scene of tragic car crash at Bradley Smithy crossroads on 10-year anniversary

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

  • George Stretton

  • Bradley Smithy crossroads

THE family of a teenager who died in a car accident at an Ashbourne crossroads have been back to the scene of the crash to mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

George Stretton, 18, a former Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School pupil from Doveridge, was the passenger of a Vauxhall Corsa which was in a collision with two other vehicles at Bradley Smithy Crossroads on the A517 in August 2004. George died at the scene.

His mother Rowena Stretton, his younger sister Harriet and his auntie Alison Box gathered at the crossing on Wednesday to cut back weeds, lay flowers and replace a wooden cross which bears the name "George" at a subtle tribute site on the grass verge.

His mother, Rowena Stretton, who lived in Roston at the time of the accident and has since moved to Knutsford, says that after 10 years, the grief of losing George has not gone away.

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She said: "It doesn't get any easier. In fact, sometimes it gets worse. It gets worse when you see other people growing up.

"You don't begrudge any of that but family events, people having children, grand children. I've been robbed of that.

"It's the long term effects of it and I don't think anyone can really comprehend what it's actually like to have someone taken away from you.

"The grief is always there. It's like any grief, there are periods in between when it's like a flat-line but what it does to you when you lose someone, a child, part of you dies with that. It goes. And you can feel it's dead.

"But you have to carry on, you have a family and you have a life and George wouldn't want us all not to be successful and not carrying on."

George's sister was 16 and in the midst of her GCSEs when George died. She now lives in Manchester but says losing her big brother made it difficult for her to take big steps in her life such as leaving school and moving away from home.

Harriet, a brand manager, said: "You lose part of yourself, it never goes away. You learn to live with it and to deal with it.

"It was difficult, school was hard but I got on with it because it was where I'd always been so it wasn't scary to go back to it. But leaving school was the scary part - going to college; that was a massive struggle.

"It was a confidence thing. I didn't want to leave anywhere I'd felt secure. I didn't want to leave home, to leave my mum, so going to college was a massive deal.

"It took me a long time and it's probably only around now that I've started to become more confident and willing to leave and go to Manchester.

"It'll always be there, it will never leave me."

George, a former pupil at Norbury Primary School, was a talented artist and lived with his father in High Street, Doveridge at the time he died.

His father did not attend the scene on Wednesday, as he finds it too hard to go back.

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