A LITTLE girl who survived a road smash that killed her mother and sister has reached her first birthday.
There were balloons and a family party today for Ava Richardson who, last August, was in her family’s car when it was hit by another vehicle travelling the wrong way on the A1 in Newcastle.
Ava’s mum, Joanne Richardson, 40, and her six-year-old sister, Mya, were killed in the crash.
Nine months on, Ava was today hailed as a “beautiful little girl” by her proud dad Ian Richardson, 38, as he prepared to give her birthday presents, which included a canvas filled with memories of the people who had played a large part in her first year.
“I got her things that Joanne had said she wanted. Everything I got her is Joanne-orientated,” said Ian.
“Sometimes, it is hard to imagine that it was only a year ago that we had so much excitement in our lives when Ava arrived.
“It was a fantastic feeling yet at times it feels like it was a lifetime ago.”
Ian, who runs a marketing and communications firm on the Queens Meadow Business Park, in Hartlepool, suffered four smashed ribs, a popped rib cage, a bruised lung and heart, whiplash, broken toes and cuts in the crash.
But he fought back to fitness and has raised his youngest daughter ever since. Today, he spoke of the sheer emotion he is facing in a month filled with poignancy.
“It is Ava’s birthday today and it would have been mine and Joanne’s third wedding anniversary later this month.
“It would also have been the 10th anniversary of Joanne and I meeting, on the May Bank Holiday. It’s a difficult time.
“It’s a case of keeping busy and keeping focussed. If you don’t, you contemplate and you end up in a not very nice place.”
Ian, from Billingham, planned to take his daughter swimming on her birthday before holding a tea party.
And tonight, Ian is planning a release of Chinese lanterns into the air – each filled with messages to Joanne and Mya from members of their family.
Since the crash, Ian has spent much of his time fundraising for a charity, the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund, which he has just formed.
The fund will support children who have lost loved ones.
Ian has yomped up four of Britain’s highest peaks and plans to tackle the 13-mile Great North Run in September.
People wanting to support the memorial fund can visit www.joandmya.co.uk
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