A mother-of-three has bravely agreed to speak about the impact of drink-driving on those left behind after a fatal crash.
Glyn Thomas died on December 29 last year after crashing his car while drink-driving near Cooksbridge. He left behind his wife of eight years, Nicola, and their three young children.
The Thomas family has run Holmansbridge Farm near Cooksbridge for three generations and Christmas is their busiest time of the year as people travel for miles to buy their turkeys. They had been enjoying spending time as a family after the Christmas rush when Mr Thomas went out for the evening with friends.
The 38-year-old drank while out and tried to drive home but crashed between Deadmantree Hill and Barcombe Cross at about 1am and died.
Mrs Thomas, 38, said: “The police came and told me what had happened. The children were still asleep upstairs. I dreaded them waking up. It was awful. The youngest didn’t understand and will now never remember his dad.
“Its hard to find words to describe that day or the ones that followed. They were full of emptiness and shock, like it wasn’t real. The Christmas decorations were still up and I had to take them down. I was already dreading having to get them out again the next year.
“It was only six months later I think that I realised he wasn’t coming back.
“The kids seem to be handling it well. Glyn was a strong, independent person and a lot of that has rubbed off on them. They are strong and full of character. Our friends and family have been so supportive to us. So have the police and the children’s school. But no matter how much support you have and people around you nothing can take away the loneliness and feeling of isolation.
“I can only hope things will get better after we have got through Christmas and the anniversary of Glyn’s death.
“I have to pass where he crashed every day on the school run and think about what happened. Glyn would be mortified at what he has done to the family. He would hate himself. I still feel bitter at what he has done to us. You never think it is going to happen to you. Then it does. It’s just so heartbreaking.
“It’s hard not having Glyn around. We all think about him a lot, especially with it coming up to Christmas. It has made life more difficult for all of us.
“Glyn often took the kids to school or picked them up. He was a big part of their daily routine. He was a big, strong, playful man and they loved being thrown around by him. They seem to miss out on the fun side of life now.
“Life has changed, we were so happy and such a strong family but losing Glyn has taken that away. It makes you wonder what you have done to deserve it. He was such a great person but he did a very stupid thing.”
Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney said: “Nicola’s story is the perfect illustration of how drink-driving can scar a family.
“Glyn Thomas will not have intended to have hurt his family but that is precisely what he did.
“By deciding to drink and drive he gambled with his life and lost but it is his family and friends left behind who must deal with the consequences of his decision every hour of every day.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I hope that Nicola’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the dangers of drink-driving.
“It is a tragedy when any life is cut short but even more so when the circumstances are avoidable. The biggest impact of these incidents is on the friends and relations of the victims and my thoughts are with Mr Thomas’ family who are facing their first Christmas without him.
“I hope that the message is clear to all road users in Sussex; please don’t drink and drive.”
You can text officers on 65999 with the car details of people you suspect of drink or drug driving. To report anyone driving anti-socially visit www.operationcrackdown.co.uk
If you know someone is driving after drinking or taking drugs call 999.