18 February 2019
A Westminster terror attack witness from Warwickshire has launched a clothing brand that raises money for charities to help make a difference out of his near-death experience.
Rob Lyon, from Rugby, was walking across Westminster Bridge when the horrific terror attack unfolded in March 2017 and although he miraculously escaped unhurt, is still haunted by what he saw.
He has now set up Cauz Clothing from his office at the Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park from where he runs Playfair Marketing, which campaigns for greater awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The brand produces sustainable, ethical and organic garments including unisex and children’s t-shirts and sweatshirts, with the aim of raising awareness, followers and funds for its charity partners. £5 from every item sold goes directly to the Cauz Club charities.
Money raised during the year will be split between 12 good causes, including local charity Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice. Other charities include Down’s Syndrome Association, Harambee Schools Kenya, Children’s Burns Trust and Kicks Count. Rob said:
I was walking across Westminster Bridge and the next thing I knew, I heard a crunch of a car hitting a kerb as it mounted the pavement, my colleague screamed to warn me and then saw several people being hit in front of me.
I jumped into the road and the car carried on past and kept on hitting people. We were very close and at the time, I didn’t realise how close.
When something like that happens, you have a whole new perspective on life and how short it could be. I wanted to do something and give something back.
In the aftermath of the traumatic attack, the father-of-two decided to set up his own marketing agency to help achieve more of a work-life balance, and establish a fashion label with a charitable giving element.
He chose the Rural Innovation Centre as a base due to its serviced offices being designed to provide a more peaceful and stress-free environment to help small businesses grow. He said:
There is ever-growing concern about throwaway fashion and our strapline is ‘thoughtful fashion’. We only produce certified ethical, sustainable and organic garments which look good and do good.
I have chosen charities that I have an affinity with and although all except Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice are national, they are largely less well-known.
One of the more well-known charities is the British Red Cross, chosen by Rob because of its UK Solidarity Fund which helps people affected by terror attacks in the UK. He said:
Although I was lucky enough to walk off the bridge without a scratch, I suffered quite severely with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Being so very close to being hit myself meant that I was asked to be a witness at the inquest last September which brought it all back but it has reinvigorated me to turn something so horrible to good.
Sarah Spriggs, grants and corporate partnerships officer at Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice, said:
The whole team are so pleased that Rob chose Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry to be a part of Cauz Clothing.
Zoë’s Place is the only hospice in the Midlands that provides respite and end of life care to newborn babies and children up to the age of five.
We rely almost completely on public donations to fund our work and with the support of Cauz Clothing, we hope we can help more babies and their families than ever before.