The family of a teenager killed when a school coach crashed on a motorway have paid tribute and say her death has left a “massive void”.
Jessica Baker, 15, died along with bus driver Stephen Shrimpton, 40, when the coach overturned on the M53 northbound at Hooton, Cheshire on Friday.
Her family have now paid tribute stating: “Her untimely death has led to a massive void in our lives that will never be filled.”
In a statement, they said: “Jessica was a warm-hearted, wonderful daughter, granddaughter and niece, devoted sister and loyal friend.
“A talented climber, based at the Boardroom Climbing centre academy where she helped coach younger climbers and competed around the country inspiring others.
“At the age of 15, just starting Year 11 at West Kirby Grammar School, where her focus was not just on academic work but also sports, representing the school at many events.
“Her untimely death has led to a massive void in our lives that will never be filled.
“She will be missed by many, from not only school but also the climbing community across the country.”
Merseyside Police, who are investigating the incident, also released a statement from the headteacher of West Kirkby Grammar School, Simeon Clarke, where Jessica attended.
He said: “It is hard to find the words to describe the tragic loss of one of our students, Jessica Baker. Our thoughts – and I know the thoughts of the wider school community – are with Jessica’s family and friends at this unimaginably sad and difficult time.”
He described the teen as “unequivocally kind and empathetic” and said she was a “dedicated friend who was a well-liked and respected member of our school community”.
He continued: “She was an unassuming, polite and conscientious student who exemplified the values of our school. Jessica was also a keen sportswoman, representing her House and the school in numerous competitions, and demonstrating an unwavering love of – and commitment to – rock climbing, where she had previously represented Wales in national competitions.
“Jessica will be greatly and sadly missed by her friends, teammates, classmates, and all at West Kirby Grammar School who had the pleasure and privilege to encounter her. As we return to school this week, we will continue to work closely with her family and friends to ensure that we celebrate Jessica’s life in the best way possible.”
Mr Clarke added: “These are difficult and challenging times, but I have always had and continue to have great belief in the strength of our community to support one another and pull together in times of need.
“We are extremely proud of the way in which students and the school community have responded to the events of Friday. We have already put in place a comprehensive programme of support for staff and students and we will look at how we might be able to develop this support further this week to parents and carers.”
The incident, which occurred around 8am total of 58 people were involved in the incident with four children being taken to hospital – including a 14-year-old boy whose injuries are said to be life-changing.
Those in hospital are said to be in stable conditions, according to police.
On Saturday, the family of Mr Shrimpton paid tribute to him, describing him as “a loving husband and father to his wife and his wonderful children, a caring and thoughtful man who would always prioritise others over himself.”
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