A mother has posted an emotional Facebook tribute to her two children who were killed in a car accident caused by a drink-driver.
Sarah Jane Pascoe-Hudson, from Penzance, Cornwall, posted a picture taken two weeks before her son Matthew, 12, and daughter Lucy, 10, were killed.
The photo features Ms Pascoe-Hudson, the two children and their younger brother Peter, then two, who survived the crash.
She posted the picture last Friday on what would have been Lucy’s 34th birthday, after it was discovered in the film of Matthew’s camera after he died.
“This photograph shows me with my beautiful children ~ Matthew 12, Lucy 10 and their little brother Peter 2. My world, my joy, my life,” she wrote, in a post that has since been shared more than 160,000 times.
She described how the three children went in the car with their father to a football match in July 1996, along with their friend, Ben.
She said the drink-driver hit their car head-on, killing Matthew instantly. Lucy died three hours later in surgery and their friend Ben died six days later in hospital. The children’s father survived but was “horribly injured”.
The drink-driver was pronounced dead at the scene, she said.
“In the few seconds that it took to veer off his side of the road, that drink-driver smashed our world into tiny pieces,” wrote Ms Pascoe-Hudson.
She said Peter stopped talking for weeks after the tragedy, and that he carried a little car Matthew had given him that day for months afterwards.
“How we managed to get through the funeral I will never know, but the many friends, family and schoolchildren that attended helped to give us strength,” she wrote.
“Life became very quiet, all the energy was sucked out of the house where once my children had laughed and lived. I held tight to my sanity only for my little boy, and we grieved together, and in our own way.”
Ms Pascoe-Hudson had another daughter a year after Matthew and Lucy were killed.
“It is a mistake to think that you can never be happy again - you can but in a different way, in a different world,” she wrote.
“I gave birth to baby Eliza 14 months after we lost Matthew and Lucy, and she brought joy and hope into our bleak world again.
“I laugh and cry, and experience life and have watched my children grow into wonderful, confident adults, and I glow with pride and wonder at how blessed I am.
“But Matthew and Lucy remain in our lives, in our thoughts and our hearts. Always loved, never forgotten.”
She warned others of the dangers of drink-driving.
“Please do not put another family through this grief. Please do not be the cause of a lifetime of sorrow. And don’t be stupid enough to think it won’t happen to you. It happened to us. It happened to my beautiful children. It can happen to anyone. Designate a driver, take a taxi, walk to the party.”