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Jessica Baker: Funeral takes place for ‘warm-hearted’ teenager who died after school bus overturned | UK News


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A funeral has taken place for a 15-year-old girl who died after the school bus she was travelling in overturned on the M53 motorway on the Wirral.

Jessica Baker was one of 58 children on the bus which crashed on 29 September. The driver Stephen Shrimpton also died, with his family saying he was “suffering medical issues” while at the wheel.

The service for Jessica took place at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Blacon, Chester, with a videolink to the school next door for those couldn’t fit in on Friday.

The front of the order of service showed a graphic of a climber, with a backdrop of mountains and trees, in memory of Jessica who represented the North West and Wales in climbing competitions across the UK.

It also featured photos of the West Kirby Grammar School, including one of her as a baby and one of her holding a football.

The family asked for donations to charity Climbers Against Cancer in memory of the teenager.

Picture of 15-year-old Jessica Baker, who died in Liverpool bus crash
Jessica Baker died in the M53 bus crash

Jessica’s family arrived at the church walking behind the hearse which carried the coffin and floral tributes, including one which spelt her name.

Her parents Sean and Sarah and sister Rebecca spoke at the service and tributes were paid by her high school and climbing club.

Her headteacher Simeon Clarke was among the mourners.

Hymns including Abide With Me and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer were sung and the poem She Is Gone was read.

Jessica’s funeral service provided a painful juxtaposition

Under a leaden Cheshire sky, Jessica Baker’s family walked behind her coffin as it was carried into the church.

The silence punctuated only by the gentle engine noise of the hearse that bore her coffin and the flowers that spelled her name.

The funeral of a child is always horrific.

In these circumstances, perhaps even more so.

Groups of teenagers, dressed in black, had arrived – pale-faced and unsure.

Many held hands as they walked through the church door; clutching each other for comfort.

From outside the church, where Jessica’s family has said press were welcome to stand, we could hear the first hymn being sung: Abide With Me.

But next to us was a park with skate ramps and a football pitch.

As the service went on inside, outside a group of boys called to each other as they kicked a ball around.

They were young people enjoying half-term and each others’ company.

In short: life.

It felt a painful and deeply emotional juxtaposition.

Following the service, members of her family tearfully embraced each other outside the church before the cortege travelled to Blacon Crematorium.

After her death, her family said Jessica loved all sports but “her overriding passion” was for both indoor and outdoor climbing.

They said: “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.”

Mourners arrive at St Theresa's Catholic Church, in Chester, for the funeral
Mourners arrive at St Theresa’s Catholic Church, in Chester, for the funeral

The family has also described her as a “warm-hearted” girl whose death has left a “massive void in our lives”.

The crash took place at around 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”.

An inquest which opened earlier this month heard driver Mr Shrimpton suffered an “event” at the wheel and was seen to “slump to the left” as the vehicle left the carriageway near junction five at Hooton, Cheshire.

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Written by: radioroxi

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