HUNDREDS of free wearable lights were handed out to pupils in Royal Wootton Bassett to make them more visible to drivers on dark country roads.

The Million Mile Lights, designed and produced by Malmesbury-based inventor Tom Lawton, which light up using the energy from walking or running, were handed out to pupils at St Bartholomew's Primary Academy to illuminate them on their walk to school during the winter.

Tom was inspired to design the lights after he experienced the shock of a close friend's sister being killed by a car one bonfire night.

Helen Baldwin, aged 12, was killed while walking along an unlit country road in the village Yatton Keynell with friends.

Tom told the Adver: “Three kids were hit by this car and it rocked the community like you couldn’t imagine. Helen was walking through the village with her friends, and they obviously didn’t have a pavement or reflectors on and a car mowed them down.

“These experiences sit with you for years and years and you contemplate how you could make that safe.

"As I’ve had children in the last 10 years I’m very mindful of how I can keep them safe, I don’t want to take them everywhere in the car and I don’t want to tell them they can’t do things.

“They’re starting to go to cubs now and we’re getting to that time of year when you’re in a rural community, your very aware of how dangerous the roads can be.”

Tom has been backed by the Safer Roads Foundation, a UK-based charity with a mission to improve road safety around the world.

"It’s about being seen and inspiring more journeys by foot," Tom added.

"We’ve got something that’s got the potential to save lives where there aren’t the right road safety provisions in the developing world where the statistics are quite alarming about dangers on the road."

The lights will also give youngsters more of a reason to walk to school during the winter, reducing the need for car journeys by parents, reducing levels of pollution around school gates.

More than 300 pupils tried out the lights and will road-test them over the next few months before Tom comes back in January to see how it went.

Head teacher Mr Oakes told the Adver: “Children’s safety in general is obviously really important to any school, we have a lot of children who walk to school and this time of year when it starts getting dark you do have worries and concerns.

“Because movement makes it light up children instinctively want to move, which is also making them exercise.

“The children were able to use it very simply, it just clips on, I think its brilliant.

“It’s also good to have them experience people like tom who sees a problem and has developed his own product, hopefully raising their ambitions.”

Isabelle, head girl of year six at St Bartholomew’s Primary Academy, said: “I thought they were very good. I walk to school with my brother and there’s too many cars and people don’t really stop."