The children and partner of a man who died after a collision between a car and a horse and carriage are campaigning to raise awareness of safe driving around horses.
Michael Bates, 41, was driving a friend’s horse, with a friend’s 20-year-old daughter, when the accident occurred in Cheshunt on 1 October.
He was taken to hospital but despite medics’ efforts, died shortly after his arrival. The woman died the next morning, and the horse died at the scene. The female driver was unhurt.
Michael’s 15-year-old daughter Grayce Vyse-Bates said the “worst thing” was that she was unable to say goodbye to her dad. Grayce has created a Facebook post with the hashtag #slowdownforbatesy in an attempt to help raise awareness of horses on the roads.
“It’s been a hard time,” she told H&H. “I’m grateful for anyone who’s shared my post; if even a few people see it that’s good, but the more the better.
“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what my family’s going through.”
Grayce described her father as “a family man”.
“He always looked out for us and would stand by his family’s side through anything, against anyone,” she said. “The loss of him has brought deep sadness to the whole of my family and many friends. We’ve lost a kind-hearted man who meant a great deal of positive things to most people he met, but heaven has gained another angel, another bright shining star.”
Michael’s partner Melissa Vyse told H&H that she, Michael and their children had all grown up with horses.
“He just went out with a friend’s horse and this is what happened,” she said. “We’re not in a good place, but I want to try to promote this hashtag and get this out there, because when is it going to stop?”
Melissa said she has been told by police that the investigation could take up to two years.
“It’s not going to be that we can just grieve for him,” she said. “We’ve got to carry on going through this until it ends. I don’t want anyone to have to go through what we have; this shouldn’t have happened to us – it shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
Melissa described her partner of 23 years as a family man, who loved his children, Grayce and her 20-year-old brother George.
“He was a lovely man,” she said. “Everyone loved him, he was a real joker. The kids are so young and he was going to be the joker granddad – what’s happened isn’t right.
“This is so hard but I want to get the message out there. If we can make even a handful of people wake up and think about passing horses wide and slow, that would be something.”
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed that no one has been arrested in connection with the accident, but officers are investigating.