|Michelle Hammond, dad Martin and step-mum Shirley|
Francis Hammond was known at work as the Big Friendly Teddy Bear - a young, caring man who had overcome childhood difficulties to become a trusted and much-loved carer in a nursing home.
It was 6.30am on Saturday May 31st, 2014 that Francis, aged 27, crossed the A23 at Streatham’s notorious St Leonard’s Junction – on his way to work in Wandsworth - and was killed by a motorcyclist.
His death was one of seven serious or fatal collisions at that junction in less than three years.
On Wednesday, Francis’s sister Michelle is backing campaigners who will present a petition for a Safer A23 through Streatham to the Greater London Assembly and Mayor Sadiq Khan.
|Francis Hammond - caring brother|
“I’m doing this for Francis’s legacy and for everyone who’s lost a loved one,” says Michelle, 33, at the family’s home in Gleneldon Road, Streatham.
“Francis would just want other people to be safe. It would mean Francis was carrying on looking after people, which was what he was all about. He was very caring.”
Michelle says she was immensely proud of her younger brother, who had overcome his own childhood learning difficulties and become a valued and loved member of the community.
“We had some tough times when we were children; our parents divorced and we both moved out of London with our Mum. But when Francis came back to be with Dad, it was a second chance for him and he never looked back.”
She describes how her brother volunteered with care charity Certitude and became a buddy for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. Some 18 months before he died he got his first full-time job as a careworker at Rosedene Nursing Home.
“He was very proud when he got his uniform,” says Michelle. “He had achieved so much.”
“My brother was my best friend,” says Michelle. “From a very young age, we were very, very close. We had planned to share a flat – or live on the same street so we could pop round and look after each other.
“We had so many plans,” says Michelle. “I think about him all the time. The impact on families is devastating. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
She says she never goes near the treacherous junction where her brother died – and she never will. But she wants it to be re-designed to make it less dangerous for pedestrians and other road users.
“My brother was very safety conscious. He would never cross the road unless he thought it was safe to do so. It could have happened to anyone. They need to have a real look at St Leonard’s junction. They need to consider everything.
“If we can fight to keep someone else safe that would be the best thing that can come out of this. Francis deserves to rest in peace, as do all the people who’ve died on the roads.”