Brave Sukhi Atwal, 50, Great Barr, West Midlands is working to help others...


Standing in the hallway, I waited for my boys to get their things together.

It was half-term and they were going for a sleepover at their cousins’ house.

‘You’re going to be late!’ I shouted up the stairs.

A few minutes later, Amar, 12, and Arjun, 10, came racing downstairs, their rucksacks packed and ready.

But before they dashed out of the door, Amar stopped to give me a huge hug. He was such a loving, kind boy.

‘I love you so much, Mum,’ he said, wrapping his arms tightly around me.

‘I love you, too, but you’d better get going,’ I replied.

I waved them off outside, where their lift was waiting, before going back in to make a start on dinner.

After we’d eaten, my husband Harbhajan, 53, and I relaxed on the sofa in front of the TV.

The next evening, my husband got a phone call. But, not recognising the number, he didn’t answer it.

Minutes later, I got a call from the same number, so I picked up.

‘Are you Amar’s mum?’ said the voice on the other end.

‘Yes… Why?’ I said.

‘I’m afraid there’s been a car accident. You need to come to the children’s hospital,’ came the reply.

Harbhajan and I grabbed our coats and ran to the car.

I didn’t even bother to change out of my nightie – I just wanted to get there.

When we arrived, we were quickly taken to see Amar.

He was in Intensive Care, and hooked up to all kinds of machines.

‘What on earth happened?’ I cried.

We were told that Amar had been travelling in the back of his cousin’s 4×4 when they were hit by a taxi that sped across a junction without stopping.

Amar hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt – and the impact of the collision hadsent him flying through the windscreen and into the middle of the road.

When police had arrived on the scene, Amar was lying so far from the car, they thought he’d been crossing the road when he was hit.

Arjun hadn’t been in the car, so he was safe and being looked after by a relative.

Other family who’d been in the vehicle with Amar – including the driver – were in a bad way, but recovering.

I sat at Amar’s bedside, praying that he, too, would be OK. But it quickly became clear that his injuries would prove fatal.

His spinal cord had been badly damaged and he had serious head injuries.

Over the next 24 hours, Amar was examined by four different neurosurgeons, who all agreed there was nothing that could be done for him.

We had no choice but to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off Amar’s life-support machine.

Saying goodbye to my son was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I hugged him as tightly as he’d hugged me just the day before.


‘I love you so much, precious boy,’ I sobbed.

We decided to donate Amar’s organs, and were proud to learn that his kidneys, heart, liver and pancreas helped to save five other lives.

Overwhelmed with grief, I found it hard to get on with life as before, but I knew I had to be strong for Arjun.

News of his brother’s death had been a devastating blow.

I went over and over the accident in my mind.

Why wasn’t Amar wearing his seatbelt?

It was something I’d always insisted on, and knowing that it’d most likely have saved his life made me feel sick to my stomach.

While I was still coming to terms with my grief, I had to go to court for the case against the taxi driver Nadeem Hussain, 35.

It was hard to look at the man who was responsible for the death of Amar, and to hear how he’d ignored Give Way signs to race across the junction into the car carrying my son.

But the hardest part was when the CCTV footage was played. I couldn’t bear to see the impact that’d killed my child, and ran sobbing from the courtroom.

A jury found Hussain guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, and two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was given a six-year sentence.

Justice had been served. But nothing could bring back Amar.

Soon after, I agreed to help with a West Midlands Police campaign to raise awareness about the importance of seatbelts.

I even agreed to release the CCTV footage of the crash. But first, I had to watch it myself…

My heart broke all over again as I saw it with my own eyes – but I hoped it would persuade people to buckle up.

Now I’m planning to give talks in schools.

Losing Amar has left a huge hole that can never be filled. But I want to help ensure no-one else goes through such heartbreak.