THE family of a ‘compassionate and spirited’ teenager who was killed by a drunk driver last year are committed to making sure her legacy lives on.

Bethany Branson, 19, died in November 2022 when she was a passenger in a car that was involved in a collision with a Ford Transit van in Bridgwater.

The van had been driven at high speed through a red light on the A38 Taunton Road before it collided with two cars that had the right-of-way at a junction.

The van's driver, Luke Hawkes, was jailed for 10 years after admitting causing death by dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

When Hawkes was sentenced, the judge said it was clear Bethany was a “bubbly and infectious person” who was destined for a life of giving.

She was a popular player at Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Club and enjoyed volunteering at St Giles Animal Rescue, a Somerset-based charity.

On Friday, November 10, a memorial rugby match played between Bridgwater and Wiveliscombe was attended by over 1,000 people and raised £16,500.

Bridgwater Mercury: Amy's teammates at Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Club.Amy's teammates at Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Club. (Image: Branson family)

The money will be split between St Giles and Wooden Spoon, a children's rugby charity, and used to buy equipment for her teammates at the Albion.

A second memorial game is expected to be played next year.

Bethany's family will present a cheque to St Giles on November 26 – what should have been her 21st birthday.

Her parents, Amy and Ben Branson, have now launched a petition to try and prevent other families from losing a loved one under the same circumstances.

Amy said: “I don’t think Bethany would have realised the impact she had on her rugby team and from the good she did in lots of other different areas of her life.

“She was very loud – she filled every space in every room – so everything’s very quiet nowadays.

“She was really compassionate. She was a whirlwind.

“She really did have a beautiful style, and she cared about everyone and everything. Rugby and animals were her passions in life.

“She was very spirited as well. She’s a huge, huge loss in our lives.”

Bridgwater Mercury: Bethany with her family.Bethany with her family. (Image: Family handout)

Amy added: “We want to make sure her memory lives on, and we can keep doing good things in her name.

“Bethany was so giving, and she would do anything for anyone.”

The petition, housed on the Parliament website, calls for the government to review the regulations pub landlords must follow to prevent drink-driving. 

It also asks for publicans to be given more powers, such as being able to confiscate car keys, to prevent customers from getting behind the wheel while drunk.

“We were so grateful to our local community who held us up at this incredibly sad time and supported us in so many ways,” said Amy.

“We would love Bethany's legacy to live on through this campaign, too.”