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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Memorial service for Keswick School bus crash victims

Tears trickled down their soft young faces as they walked slowly side-by-side into the quaint sandstone church to remember two talented youngsters whose lives were tragically cut short.

This large group of teenagers, some wearing Keswick School’s bottle green uniform and others wearing trendy clothing, were just a handful of the wide variety of people who gathered together to say their last goodbye's to two friends who will be treasured in their hearts forever.

Raw courage was shown from classmates, family and friends as they gathered to say prayers, sing hymns and remember the lives of Chloe Walker, 16, of Frizington, and Kieran Goulding, 15, of Whitehaven, who lost their lives in the A66 Keswick School bus crash on May 24.

The memorial service was held in Crosthwaite Church, which was packed to the rafters with more than 500 people from the local community.

Clearly still grieving, Chloe’s parents John and Sharon Walker and her sister Reagan and Kieran’s mother Tracey Nicholson and relatives attended the service.

A female relative of Patrick Short, 68, the driver of Honda Civic which collided with the bus, also attended the service to pay her respects and meet the families of the two teenagers.

Mr Short’s widow Wendy Scott is in Canada.

A collection was held to raise money for all the voluntary services which helped out after the tragic event.

Members of the mountain rescue team, Royal Navy, the air force and the local ambulance, police and fire services who were involved in the rescue operation, attended the service.

The service was opened by the Reverend Stuart Penny.

Head of year 11, Mike Frew, described Chloe as having a heart of gold and a girl who was immensely popular with her fellow classmates.

“In the classroom she could be conscientious, interested and pretty chatty,” he said.

“Out of the classroom she appeared to get on well with everyone and this was due to her positive attitude. One student commented that they had never heard Chloe say a bad word against anyone.

“The phrase I have heard again and again from so many of year 11 was that Chloe was everyone’s friend. Chloe Walker will be sorely missed but not forgotten from all who knew her.”

Head of year 10, Simon Purdy, described Kieran as a young man with a good sense of humour and someone who was passionate about cycling.

“To me he was a polite and friendly student with a really good sense of humour who enjoyed the everyday hustle and bustle of Keswick School life.

“Chatting with friends, getting the gossip and the sort of stuff young people like to do. He was well thought of in the school and the community. We will all miss his company,” he said.

Headteacher Mike Chapman said: “We are a month on and the children are beginning to smile again and to realise that it is okay to smile and laugh again.

“There are still some children who need more support and we are offering this support in school.

“I hope that the service tonight will offer the children some sort of closure and help them to move on from this tragic event.

“Both Chloe and Kieran were wonderful children and much loved, not just by their family and friends but the whole community which has been show here tonight. They will not be forgotten.”

A memorial for Chloe and Kieran is due to be erected in the school by early autumn.

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