Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Sea of orange highlights safe driving message

Mother of woman who died in car crash and Shepparton Safeway staff raise awareness of Don't Txt-n-Drive campaign.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK June 28, 2014 3:55am

Vicki Richardson (left) with Shepparton's Archer St Safeway customer service manager Tracey Brown (right) and Safeway staff and family members supporting the Don't Txt-n-Drive campaign..

A sea of orange swept through Shepparton Safeway yesterday as its employees threw their support behind a campaign to stop people texting while driving.

This month, staff members from 18 Woolworths-owned stores across north-east Victoria have used their shopfronts to raise awareness and funds for the Don’t Txt-n-Drive campaign, started by Mulwala’s Vicki Richardson.

Mrs Richardson’s daughter Brooke died in December 2012 when her car ran off the road into a tree near Cobram.

The bubbly hairdresser, 20, had been texting at the time.

Shepparton Safeway employees donned orange clothing, face-paint and hairspray and decorated the store with orange decorations to honour Brooke’s memory.

They also sold Don’t Txt-n-Drive merchandise including wristbands, ribbons and car fresheners for a gold coin donation, with all proceeds going back into awareness projects in the community.

Mrs Richardson said the store’s efforts were touching.

‘‘This makes me so happy and it helps to bring Brooke into my life every day,’’ she said.

‘‘Of course I still have my bad days, but this is one of the good days. The whole aim of this campaign is to make sure other families don’t have to wake up the way I do — thinking ‘she’s gone’.’’

Safeway customer service manager Tracey Brown, who organised the day’s festivities, said it was the least she could do to help the campaign.

‘‘It’s not about us, it’s about raising awareness,’’ Mrs Brown said.

‘‘If we could save just one life, it would be worth it.’’

Safeway manager Helen Benham said the customers had been curious about the orange decorations.

‘‘The customers are all asking why we’re wearing orange — they’re loving it,’’ Mrs Benham said.

‘‘We’re talking to them about Don’t Txt-n-Drive because it’s an issue that’s really close to our hearts.

‘‘We all have kids who text, we text, so we’re all embracing it.’’

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