Norfolk man set for charity swim in memory of crash victim

06:30 09 June 2012

James Munro, who is taking part in the Great North Swim to raise funds for St John Ambulance in memory of friend Claire McKeown who died in a car crash in south Norfolk in 2011.

James Munro, who is taking part in the Great North Swim to raise funds for St John Ambulance in memory of friend Claire McKeown who died in a car crash in south Norfolk in 2011.


A Norfolk man, who was seriously injured in a collision caused by a drunk driver, is set for a charity swim in memory of a friend who died in the same crash.

James Munro was heading to a wedding with his girlfriend and two friends when they were involved in the crash near Diss on July 1 last year.

The artist, who now lives in Liverpool, will be taking part in the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere later this month in memory of Claire McKeown, who died of her injuries and to raise money for St John Ambulance after trained first aiders came to their assistance after the crash between Roydon and Bressingham.

The 31-year-old suffered a head injury, broken ribs and a dislocated pelvis and hip and was in hospital for two weeks following the collision and is focusing on the one mile swim on June 24 to help aid his recovery.

Mr Munro, who works as an illustrator, said he was grateful to the assistance of three St John Ambulance volunteers who happened to be near the scene on the night of the crash.

“There was an event in nearby Bressingham and they were stuck in the traffic and we were lucky they were nearby. They came up to see what was going on and they were invaluable and gave us lots of help,” he said.

Mr Munro’s girlfriend Jess Trigg suffered a broken pelvis and wrist after Amanda Brierley, of The Street, South Lopham, ploughed into the back of the car they were travelling in.

Unemployed Brierley, 47, had drunk two bottles of wine before getting in her car and was jailed for eight years for causing death by dangerous driving at a Norwich Crown Court hearing in December. She had a previous drink drive conviction had attempted to flee the scene.

Mrs McKeown, a rising star in Liverpool’s creative arts scene, died from her injuries at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, the following day. Her husband, Simon, who was driving, escaped uninjured.

Mr Munro, whose family live in the Diss area, said the crash had changed their lives forever.

“I used to swim when I was young and my physiotherapist suggested swimming as a way to get back in shape and was good for my rehabilitation and I decided to make the most of it and raise money for St John Ambulance.”

“I am not 100pc and we will probably always have problems with our hips, but I have found I can swim without too much trouble.”

“Jess had known Claire for 20 years and it is a big hole in her life. We think about the crash a lot and it changed our lives. We are glad that the person who caused this is not driving any more. We are coming up to a year since the crash and it is very much in memory of Claire and to say thank you to the St John Ambulance,” he said.

Mr Munro can be sponsored by visiting


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