Father's tragic story is a beacon of hope
2008: A book describing how a Christian Lowestoft father coped with the tragic deaths of his two daughters is to be held up as a beacon of hope by police forces across the country.
Family liaison officers throughout the UK will be able to use copies of A12 to Heaven, written by Phil Stoddart (right), part of Lowestoft Community Church, with a wish that his extraordinary journey and staunch faith could give some comfort to other families who have lost a loved one.
On June 1 it is two years since Claire and Jenny (pictured below) were killed in a car crash, caused by a drink-driver, on the A12 at Blythburgh. The book is designed to help answer questions that bereaved people may have.
Phil’s story first came to the attention of Suffolk police in December when he addressed a meeting of family liaison officers at their headquarters in Martlesham.
Phil said: “I think they come across people with all types of grief and sometimes very aggressive victims, but I suppose what they saw in me was very different. They seemed very interested in the story and they stopped me through the talk and asked me lots of questions, which I liked.
“It is one person's description of the journey on which they encounter God through it. People have to go through very difficult situations and have no source of comfort. I regard it as a privilege that I did have.”
Anne Marie Breach, press officer for Suffolk police, said that a family liaison officer will often be appointed when a fatal collision occurs, and often strong relationships are built between the officers and the families of those who have died.
She added: “Mr Stoddart found strength through his faith and through the support of friends and family and this is reflected in his book. He has been prepared to share his experience and this may go some way to helping others facing similar situations.
“Family liaison officers in Suffolk have been made aware of the book and we will be looking to supply details to other police forces who may be interested.”
Waterstones in Lowestoft is now stocking the book and would be circulating it nationwide if that was possible.
The book, published by Last Word Publications, is also available from the Oasis Christian Bookshop in Bevan Street, Lowestoft, at £7.99.
It can be ordered online at www.lastworkpublications.com
Article and pictures courtesy of www.edp24.co.uk