A ray of light from a terrible tragedy

Out of the most terrible family tragedy came a ray of light this week with the granting of Royal Ascent to “Lillian’s Law”.

Lillian Groves will be known to many Herald readers as the name of an innocent 14-year-old teenager tragically killed in a road accident in 2010.

The driver behind the wheel was given an eight-month prison sentence for Lillian’s death, even though a half-smoked cannabis joint was found on the dashboard of his car. The law had proven hopelessly inept in delivering a conviction.

So began a three-year campaign in which Eastbourne became emotionally involved as Lillian’s devastated grandparents, Peter and Pam Sanders, started a campaign to fight for a change in the law.

The heartbreak of losing their beloved grand-daughter has never left them but the Sanders took their strength from the backing they received - more than 15,000 signatures from well-wishers at Langney shopping centre and Eastbourne town centre.

Three years on and Lillian’s Law - as it has become known - has finally received Royal ascent. Stephen Lloyd, too, must take his share of praise for helping force a rethink on how drug drivers are identified and dealt with.

The Sanders were there in Westminster to see the campaign come to fruition. There was cause for celebration but for the family, it was still a sobering day.

At least Lillian’s name will live on and much good will have come out of this family tragedy.

And Eastbourne can rightly claim to have played a major part.