A MOTHER is raising money to support the schoolchildren who suffered life-changing injuries in a bus crash in Winchester earlier this month.

Rachael Moran launched her efforts following a chance meeting with one of the affected families in hospital on the day of the collision.

Having suffered severe injuries in an accident when she was aged just 12, Rachael’s own experience came flooding back at Southampton General Hospital.

Three Henry Beaufort School pupils sustained “potentially life-changing injuries” as a result of the horrific incident, which saw a Stagecoach bus hit a railway bridge on September 10.

Following conversations with one of the pupil’s mothers, Rachael set about raising funds to support the child.

After an outpouring of initial backing for a raffle promoted on social media, which still has tickets up for grabs, the 26-year-old is attempting to support the other youngsters who suffered traumatic injuries in the incident. A fundraising event has been organised, scheduled to take place at Mai Tai in Poole, Dorset, on the evening of Monday, September 28.

“As a child I was in hospital after having quite a bad accident,” said Rachael.

“Having a freak accident while being so young and having my parents going through it, being at the hospital after the bus crash just brought back every memory to me.

“I sat there and cried. It was like watching what happened to me, happen to someone else.

“I remember the strain on my parents with buying makeup or taking me to appointments, my parents having to take time off work and struggling with money.

“It was a really dark and difficult time for us. I just thought I am the mum now, I know enough people and I am going to do something for these kids. I don’t want them to feel the way I felt. I want them to be a better version of what I was when I went through it and to have the right support.”

Rachael, who moved from Ringwood to Eastleigh earlier this year, was at the hospital on the day of crash as her son, who is asthmatic, had been struggling with breathing difficulties that day.

They ended up on the same ward as one of the children who required surgery due to injuries sustained in the collision.

The mother-of-two reached out to businesses across Bournemouth and Poole to obtain prizes for her initial raffle.

However, the support of Chris Lowe, of Mai Tai, took the effort to new heights, with him offering to host a socially-distanced event at the venue on September 28, with all proceeds going to support the injured schoolchildren.

Rachael, an administrator for a tree surgeon and landscaping business, added: “I feel so privileged Chris has come along to help. He is like an angel. I just couldn’t believe how kind he was.

“We just want to try to support the kids as much as we can. Without Chris’s help I couldn’t have dreamed of raising so much money.”

Several raffles are planned for the event, with prizes up for grabs from a variety of venues, cosmetic companies, salons and even a socially-distanced bachelor raffle.

Tickets for Monday’s fundraiser cost £5 and can be obtained, along with tickets for her initial raffle, by messaging Rachael on Facebook – facebook.com/RachaelElizabeth93.