Concert in honour of Cindy Devine takes the stage in London, Ont. Thursday

Cindy Devine, 35, of St. Thomas leaves behind her husband Richard, children Dakota and Page, and stepchildren Aries and Brook. Supplied

A group of local rock stars will be joined by one of Cindy Devine’s most cherished possessions when they take the stage for “Devine Thursday,” a concert fundraiser in honour of the 35-year-old mother from St. Thomas.

Devine’s life ended in tragedy when she was killed in a two-vehicle collision on the afternoon of Oct. 2, 2020.

She was driving down Highbury Avenue to her job at her parents’ cross-stitch store when she was caught in a head-on collision with a pickup truck near Glanworth Drive at the southern edge of London.

Emergency crews arrived to find a fiery crash scene. According to media reports at the time, eyewitnesses attempted to rescue a conscious Devine from the wreckage, but were kept back by the heat and flames.

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Devine was pronounced dead by first responders, leaving behind her husband Richard, children Dakota and Paige, and stepchildren Aries and Brook.

Tyler Besterd, the other driver involved, was sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Last week, Besterd was sentenced to five and a half years in prison followed by a nine-year driving suspension after the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death.

Hoping to never see the tragedy repeated, friends, family and volunteers have launched a Canada-wide campaign called Extinguishers for Cindy, which aims to pass Cindy’s Law, a bill to make fire extinguishers mandatory on all vehicles.

Devine Thursday will raise money for just that and organizer Bob Reid hopes it also provides a sense of healing for those in the audience, as well as those on stage.

Reid was one of the first people on scene on the day of Devine’s death, having driven up to the crash while on his way home from St. Thomas.

He tells Global News that he couldn’t tell what had happened when he first arrived before he noticed a car off in a ditch near a cornfield alongside the roadway.

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“I got over there as quick as possible and that’s when I met Cindy. She told me that she couldn’t move her legs, that they were pinned,” Reid said.

“It was strange for me to jump down into a ditch and when I looked at her instantly, she kind of reminded me of my wife — red hair, tattoos — and it was just horrible.”

Reid’s band, Bobnoxious, will be joined by Brad Gibb All Star Band, Heart Attack Kids, Brother Time and Aaron Allen for Thursday’s concert fundraiser at Eastside Bar & Grill.

He plans to perform with Devine’s guitar, something that was suggested to him after he confided in friends that he couldn’t write songs after the fatal 2020 crash.

When he ran the idea by Richard, Devine’s husband, his response was, “that would be awesome.”

“I think if I can get through playing Cindy’s guitar — wow, I have a hard time just saying it — that will probably help a lot,” Reid said.

“I’ve played it a couple of times now … it’s difficult as hell to say the least.”

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Christine Rozon says music was a big part of her sister’s life, making Devine Thursday a fitting way to honour her memory.

“She had written songs about her daughter Paige and after her son, Dakota, was born, she was just starting to get back into it and that’s unfortunately when she died,” Rozon told Global News.

Rozon says progress for Cindy’s Law is being made, but there is still plenty of work to be done. This includes finding an MPP to sponsor the bill and set up a petition through the Ontario legislature.

The campaign has been able to hand out about 900 fire extinguishers thanks to donations, but Rozon says there are plenty more they haven’t been able to keep track of.

Rozon says anyone looking to set up an event in support of the cause should connect with her and fellow organizers through the Extinguishers For Cindy Facebook page.

“It’s going to be great to see Bob playing her guitar up there. I think it’s going to unfortunately stir up some memories, but ultimately the whole goal of this is awareness,” said Rozon about Thursday’s concert.

“For people to understand how important it is to have extinguishers in vehicles, but ultimately not to drink and drive.”

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Doors open for Devine Thursday at 8 p.m. at Eastside Bar & Grill on Hamilton Road.

Tickets are $10 at the door and donations are also being accepted online through

— with files from Global News’ Matthew Trevithick

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