A young woman who used imaginative ways to reduce speeding in her village has been recognised by police as the unsung road safety hero of 2021.

Erin Langdale, 20, set up a road safety group in Middlestone Village last year following concerns drivers do not slow down as they travel on the B6287 through the village, located between Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor.

One of the group’s first initiatives was to buy a family of mannequins which were then dressed by village children to look as realistic as possible.

Standing in prominent positions throughout the village, the dolls make drivers aware that children play in the area and encourage them to slow down to the 30mph speed limit.

Other successful initiatives include a poster competition and a Facebook and WhatsApp group to share ideas and lobby Durham County Council and Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen.

And as part of Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit’s Operation Brake – a road safety week led by the charity Brake – Miss Langdale has been named a police road safety hero.

The 20-year-old letting agent was presented with her certificate of recognition by the force’s Roads Policing Inspector, Kevin Salter, and Ms Allen in the village on Friday (November 12).

She said: “It’s been a group effort and there was a lady before me, Sandra, who has also campaigned to help make the village roads safer so it’s great to have some recognition for the whole community.

“We have other plans going forward to help reduce speeding and look forward to working with the police and council on these.”

Inspector Salter said: “Erin is clearly very passionate about road safety and she should be very proud of her achievement.

“When we heard about the exceptional work she has done we wanted to ensure she was recognised for her contribution and it is with great pleasure that we can present her with our Road Safety Hero certificate of recognition for 2021.

“Speeding is a factor in one in five fatal crashes and one of the Fatal 4 reasons that can cause serious injury alongside people not wearing their seatbelts, being under the influence of drink or drugs and using their mobile phones whilst at the wheel.

“It is great to see the community coming together to help tackle this issue and I hope drivers continue to slow down and do their bit to keep residents of Middlestone Village safe.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen said: “I am delighted Erin has been recognised for her hard work raising awareness of road safety within her community. Erin has carried out some excellent initiatives to promote road safety encouraging drivers to slow down and reduce their speed.

“I will continue to work with the community and local elected members of all parties to tackle road safety concerns in our communities to prevent serious injury and death on our roads.”

For more information on the Brake charity visit Home | Brake

For more on the force’s Road Safety Bureau visit Road Safety Bureau (durham.police.uk)