A funeral service was held today for Jessica Baker, 15, who was killed in a bus crash on the M53 as the vehicle travelled from Chester to West Kirby Grammar School
A funeral for a schoolgirl who was killed in a bus crash on the M53 last month was held today, as her family released a sweet new photo of the teenager.
Jessica Barker, 15, was thrown from the vehicle and crushed underneath it, dying instantly from “catastrophic injuries” in the crash on September 29. Driver Stephen Shrimpton, 40, also died in the accident on the motorway while travelling from Chester to West Kirby Grammar School in the Wirral. Today, devastated family members and friends attended a service for Jessica at St Theresa R C Church in Blacon, Chester, where a video link was set up for those outside and unable to fit inside.
Tributes were read from members of staff at West Kirby High School where Jessica was a pupil, and her climbing club where she trained for seven years. The front of the order of service showed a graphic of a climber in a nod to her time representing the North West and Wales in climbing competitions across the UK. It also featured photos of Jessica as a baby and another of her holding a football.
The family asked for donations to charity Climbers Against Cancer in memory of the teenager. Among family tributes and hymns, an emotional poem called ‘She is Gone’ was read out to mourners. Following the service, members of her family tearfully embraced each other outside the church before the cortege travelled to Blacon Crematorium.
After the crash, in a statement via Merseyside Police, Jessica’s family said: “Jessica was a talented and dedicated climber who competed over the last seven years of her life across the UK representing both the North West and Wales. Jessica loved all sports and chose GCSE PE as one of her options, but her overriding passion was for both indoor and outdoor climbing. Despite being a teenager, Jessica was able to communicate with everyone she came into contact with regardless of their age. She was often seen offering support to fellow climbers on how to achieve a problem/route they were trying to complete. Jessica was planning to explore a career in sport in some way and was due to begin her coaching qualifications later this year towards this goal.”
An inquest into the tragedy held earlier this month was told no one aboard the doomed coach had been wearing a seatbelt when it veered off the carriageway. It was told Mr Shrimpton suffered an “event” at the wheel and was seen to “slump to the left” as the vehicle left the carriageway. A total of 58 children were involved in the crash, which happened at about 8am as students were taken to West Kirby and Calday Grange grammar schools in Wirral, Merseyside. Four other children needed hospital treatment, including a 14-year-old boy whose injuries were said to be “life-changing”.
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