A Wirral school has issued a statement following a fatal crash on the M53 that involved one of its school buses.
Shortly after 8am on Friday 29 September, a school bus carrying 54 people overturned after hitting a reservation on the motorway on the Wirral. It was later confirmed that 15-year-old girl Jessica Baker and the driver of the school bus Stephen Shrimpton were killed.
The crash involved pupils from West Kirby Grammar School and Calday Grange Grammar School. In a statement on 2 October, Calday Grange said, “It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Jessica Baker and Stephen Shrimpton.
“Both were cherished members of our wider school community and their absence will be profoundly felt by all who had the privilege of knowing them.”
Headmaster Stephen Gray added, “We would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to another student, currently hospitalised with life-changing injuries. We will continue to support him and his family during this challenging time.
“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of heartfelt messages and condolences from our community and beyond. Your support serves as a testament to the strength and unity of our community in the face of such adversity.
“In these trying times, we urge everyone to come together, support one another, and remember the vibrant lives of Jessica and Stephen.”
Merseyside Police confirmed 58 people were involved in the crash, including a 14-year-old boy who suffered life-changing injuries. A total of 52 people attended the emergency services training centre, 39 were discharged with no need for further treatment and 13 were treated for minor injuries and released.
Tributes were paid to Jessica over the weekend who was described as “a well-liked and respected member of our school community” and “an unassuming, polite and conscientious student who exemplified the values of our school.”
Stephen’s family also paid tribute to him in a statement via Merseyside Police. They said, “Stephen was a loving husband and father to his wife and his wonderful children, a caring and thoughtful man who would always prioritise others over himself.”
Following the incident, Wirral Council’s leader Cllr Paul Stuart said, “This is a heartbreaking day and my deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
“Schools are very close-knit communities and I know this will be devastating for all those affected. The council has been providing support and assistance to the schools and families since we were made aware of the incident this morning. We will continue to do whatever we can to help.”
Hoylake councillors Max Booth, Tony Cox, and Andrew Gardner suspended all political activities over the weekend and said they were “deeply saddened by the earth-shattering news.” Flowers were left at West Kirby Grammar School which is located in their ward.