Image source, Police handout
Image caption, Jessica Baker, aged 15, was a keen rock climber who represented Wales
The girl who died when a school bus overturned was “warm-hearted and wonderful”, her family has said.
Jessica Baker, 15, and driver Stephen Shrimpton, 40, died when the vehicle hit a reservation on the M53 in Wirral on Friday.
The student’s family said she was a keen rock-climber and “her untimely death has led to a massive void in our lives that will never be filled”.
They also described her as a “devoted sister and loyal friend”.
Simeon Clarke, her head teacher at West Kirby Grammar, described Jessica as “unassuming, polite and conscientious”.
He said she was a “keen sportswoman” who had represented Wales in rock-climbing competitions.
“Unequivocally kind and empathetic, Jessica was a dedicated friend who was a well-liked and respected member of our school community,” he added.
Her family said she also helped coach younger climbers and she would be “missed by many from not only school but also the climbing community across the country”.
The coach had been carrying more than 50 students from Cheshire, who attend West Kirby Grammar School and Calday Grange Grammar School, when the collision occurred at about 08:00 BST near junction 5 at Hooton.
Image source, PA Media
Image caption, The coach overturned during Friday morning’s rush hour
Four passengers were taken to hospital for treatment, while 13 others suffered minor injuries.
In a fundraiser for Mr Shrimpton’s funeral, his family said the father-of-two had suffered a medical issue while driving.
Police said post-mortem examinations are due to be conducted to establish the cause of both deaths.
The coach had been in a convoy of buses carrying other students, who saw the incident.
Image source, family handout
Image caption, Stephen Shrimpton was described as a “loving husband and father” by his family
Labour MP Margaret Greenwood, whose Wirral West constituency includes both schools, told BBC Breakfast “this will be profoundly traumatic for those children”.
“The schools are working incredibly hard to support them. It’s going to be a very, very difficult time for everybody for quite some time to come.”
Ms Greenwood added there had been “so much panic” among parents after the crash as they tried to find out about their children’s condition.
“I know that people will be doing a lot to support their children this weekend and in the coming days and weeks to come to terms with what is a really devastating incident.”
The MP, who has met pupils from both schools on previous occasions, described them as “very tightly-knit school communities” and said that prayers had been said in local churches for those involved.
Mr Clarke said the school would work with Jessica’s family and friends to “celebrate her life” and that he was “extremely proud of the way in which students and the school community have responded to the events of Friday”.
Image caption, Jessica Baker’s school assembled a remembrance tree in tribute to her
Barbara Flynn-Southern, who worked with Mr Shrimpton at a food bank in Ellesmere Port, said: “He was lovely and he will be missed so much by so many people.
“Regardless of what we asked him – whether it was morning, noon or night – he’d do it. Even if he’d been on shift all day and then we got a call to say we’ve got extra food here, is there anyone that can come and collect, he’s the first port of call.”
In a tribute on Saturday, Mr Shrimpton’s family described him as a “caring and thoughtful man who would always prioritise others over himself”.
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