How this started by Sharon Evans…
In November 1995 I was on my way to the BBC television studios to present the London news when I braked and hit black ice. The car spun out of control and I hit another vehicle travelling towards me head on. The impact was horrific and I lost consciousness. When I came round I was literally not sure whether I was alive or dead. Strangely I was not afraid and would even say there was a feeling of peace around me. Visions of the life I had lived flashed before my eyes and two thoughts overwhelmed me. One was sadness that I would not see my husband again and the other was a feeling of huge disappointment that I had not used my life to make a difference to the world.
I felt that I had done some good in my career as a journalist and news presenter, but it was not nearly enough. In that moment, I made a promise to God, that if I lived that I would change my life. I vowed that I would use my journalistic skills differently to try to bring about change in the world for children.
This idea was also important to me because up until this point I had tried to forget my traumatic childhood. But in this moment it became clear to me that I could use my experiences along with my writing and presentation skills to help children. Until this time in my life nobody knew that my grandfather was a paedophile and at the age of 3 began sexually abusing me. My father was also very violent and beat my mother on a regular basis, so I also witnessed extreme violence in my home. I suffered this until I was 7 when my Mother finally left my father fearing that he would kill her.
At that point I couldn’t read or tell the time because of the trauma I was suffering and I had always been labelled as a ‘remedial’ pupil. Literally nobody knew what was happening to me and I had no way of understanding how I could escape from the nightmare. I just kept wishing that some grown up would help. In school I couldn’t understand why nobody knew and I didn’t know how to tell.
My husband Neil wanted to help children because of his experiences as a Metropolitan Police Officer. During the course of his job he had to tell parents that their child had died either through crime or accidents. Often he could see that if the child had been better informed about the risks they might not have made the mistakes that lead to their death.
Just the year before my car crash, Neil also had a near death experience. He was almost killed in a riot against the Criminal Justice Bill in Park Lane. During the fighting an anarchist climbed to the top of a gate and dropped a paving stone from a great height on his head. He was lucky to survive the impact and it took us a long time to recover physically from these traumatic experiences. However they certainly gave us a wake up call about what matters in life. We pledged to do more with the skills we had and to try to make a difference to the lives of others.