Leyland mum dies in M6 crash

Sarah Gardner with the Lostock Hall Memorial Band
Sarah Gardner with the Lostock Hall Memorial Band
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A 39-year-old Leyland mum has died in a car crash on the M6 motorway.

Sarah Gardner, aged 39, from Stanifield Close, Farington, suffered serious head injuries from the collision, which happened on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire at around 4pm on Sunday, July 28.

The mum-of-two was the front seat passenger of an Audi, and was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The back seat passengers of the car, an 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, believed to be her children Jack and Bethan, last night (Monday) remained at Good Hope Hospital with relatively minor injuries.

The male driver of the Audi, understood to be her husband Dave, was uninjured.

Sarah, a member of the Lostock Hall Memorial Band, wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday that she was off to visit family, and said: “Can’t wait, maybe that’s why I’ve been up since 6.30am.”

She was chairman of Lostock Hall Memorial Band and played the solo tenor horn.

The former co-musical director of the band, Ian McKnight, who is now chairman of Leyland Band, said: “I have known Sarah for about eight years in connection with the band.

“She was a fantastically dedicated musician and hugely dedicated to the organisation of the band as well.

“In any organisation like that, you always get a few people who are 100 per cent committed to what they do - and she was one of them.

“Obviously, it’s a huge shock and a huge loss to the band. She will be very much missed by everyone.

“I don’t know what to say apart from that she was a wonderful person.

“She had been in the band ever since she first began playing which was, I understand, when she was really quite young.

“She never played anywhere else. In terms of her music, she was very dedicated to the band.”

The news was broken to the band, of which Sarah had been a member for 26 years since joining aged 13, last night at their practice.

Band secretary Martin Walker said: “She will be a massive loss. Her son has just finished primary school and will be going to high school next year. It is awful.

“It will be an emotional rollercoaster for the players. A lot of the band have been together for a very long time. We all know each other’s families.

“Hopefully the band can play at her funeral and support the family in that way. And hopefully at some point, there will be some kind of tribute or memorial from us.”

The collision occurred on the northbound carriageway of the motorway at Chasetown and involved a black Audi S3 and a blue VW Polo.

The female driver of the other car involved in the crash, a VW Polo, was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital for treatment, but has since being discharged.

A police investigation is now underway.