Keep Left campaigner “overwhelmed” by support shown in fundraising drive

A Skye woman said she was “overwhelmed” after more than £500 was donated towards the road safety campaign she started after being involved in a car accident.

Sharon Anslow from Carbost launched the ‘Keep Left’ campaign in early 2019 after she was injured in a crash near Sligachan while avoiding an oncoming vehicle driving in the middle of the road. A foreign tourist was issued with a fixed-penalty fine.

During a successful year for the campaign in 2019, Ms. Anslow met with high-ranking officials from Transport Scotland and worked with MSP Kate Forbes, local councillor John Finlayson.

And at the end of the year, she launched a fundraising drive via JustGiving to maintain the momentum of the initiative.

On 28th December 2019, which marked the one-year anniversary of the campaign, she published a post on the Keep Left Facebook page. In that post, she set a target of £150 to fund the reprinting of stickers and leaflets to distribute around the Highland and Islands to keep people safe on the roads. The final amount raised, £515, was more than treble the target.

Speaking to the Free Press, Sharon said: “With respect to the campaign, it’s still a work in progress. It started out strong, with great support from Kate Forbes MSP and Councillor John Finlayson as well as the media – locally and nationally. During the year things were quieter for ‘Keep Left’ but the volumes of traffic from tourism didn’t go unnoticed. (Nor did) the standard of driving – from locals too!

“As we came into the winter again the videos and messages started showing that the issue of driving on the wrong side is still a common one. I started the fundraiser reluctantly – in the past, I’ve paid for things myself but at this time of year, it just wasn’t possible. I wanted to act now while it was quieter on the island. So I initially asked for £150 for stickers and posters, mainly for B&Bs and local attractions to try to get the word out.

“With one thing and another I hadn’t checked the status of the JustGiving page over the new year period. I was absolutely overwhelmed to learn that the total had hit £515 – this will help me to do so much more! I will be forever grateful to those who have supported my campaign from the start. It helped me come to terms with something pretty bad and made me focus on something so much better.”

Looking ahead, she added: “One thing I’ve found is that communicating with visitors works wonders – they are often just as scared driving on our roads and really appreciate any tips and advice. I am still working with John Finlayson regarding road markings which I hope will have a positive outcome.”

Article by Adam Gordon