For Pets’s Sake Use Your Brakes: Schoolboy’s message to motorists

Alfie Southcott with his poster aimed at motorists Picture: Contributed

Alfie Southcott with his poster aimed at motorists Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

When Sidmouth mum Laura Southcott’s son Alfie showed her a poster he had designed urging drivers to slow down, little did she realise that would be the beginning of a road safety campaign.

She handed a few copies to friends and neighbours and they soon began appearing in gardens near the family’s home in Manstone Avenue.

But when the poster landed on the desk of Sidmouth councillor and Devon County Council cabinet member for highways management, Stuart Hughes, things really started to take off.

Not only is he backing an appeal, along with East Devon MP Simon Jupp, for people to display the poster in their gardens, he has also pledged to fund a road safety video with the youngster.

Alfie, 11, and his sister Poppy, 8, were devastated when their pet cat, Robin, was killed by a car.

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But the schoolboy turned the tragedy into an opportunity and designed his For Pets’ Sake Use Your Brakes poster.

Office worker Laura, 46, said: “Alfie designed the posters to raise awareness of the 20mph speed limit in built up areas of Sidmouth.

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“We just expected a few people on our road to put up the poster but Cllr Hughes offered his support, and then Simon Jupp, our MP, and it really gathered momentum.”

Cllr Hughes said: “I am in full support of Alfie’s initiative and believe that this could very well be rolled out nationally.

“I am also willing to provide funding through my County Council locality budget to produce a road safety film with Alfie and his campaign.”

Mr Jupp said: “I was pleased to hear Alfie is turning the tragic loss of the family’s beloved young cat into something positive, encouraging Sidmouth residents and passers through to keep to a safe speed.

“As the nights draw in and conditions worsen, Alfie’s posters will provide timely reminders that it’s all the more important that drivers take care on our roads.”

We are encouraging Herald readers living in 20mph zones to show their support for Alfie’s campaign by printing out the poster and displaying it prominently.

Please send any pictures of your signs to

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