School trip tragedy claims third life

THE school secretary seriously injured in Saturday's German motorway crash died yesterday with her children at her bedside.Tributes have poured in for Norwich School staff secretary Jane Irving, 53, who was described as “the heart of the school.

THE school secretary seriously injured in Saturday's German motorway crash died yesterday with her children at her bedside.

Tributes have poured in for Norwich School staff secretary Jane Irving, 53, who was described as “the heart of the school.” Her death means the tragic crash, which involved coaches from Suffolk and Norfolk, has now claimed three lives.

Headmaster Jim Hawkins said along with her family, staff, pupils and parents were devastated by the loss of “a wonderful friend and dedicated colleague.”

“Jane was the heart of Norwich School life as the secretary to the common room responsible for the day to day support of all senior school teachers,” he said. “Most secretaries work for one person - she worked for more than 80.


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“She did so with boundless energy and always a sense of fun, there was never such a thing as a crisis with Jane. She would face all difficulties with a calm smile and sense of perspective.

“We shall miss her terribly. Out thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.”

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German doctors fought for more than 48 hours to save Mrs Irving after she was rushed to hospital in Cologne, following the crash on the A4 autobahn in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The mother of two suffered both leg and internal injuries in the crash and despite doctors efforts died at around 4am yesterday.

Her children, Ben and Hayley, who flew out to Germany to be with their mother when news of the crash reached them, were at her bedside.

Mrs Irving was divorced, but her former husband was also thought to be flying from Australia to be with the family.

Her death follows that of 14-year-old Stuart Dines, a pupil at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, and bus driver Ronald Lees, 69, of Yarmouth-based Ambassador Travel, who were both declared dead shortly after the crash.

Stuart's parents Jackie and Robert and his siblings Ian, 22, and Rachel, 20, of Woodbridge, said: “He would always make you laugh whatever the situation. He was a very loyal son and brother, who was extremely caring and will never be forgotten.”

The crash happened at 3am on Saturday on the A4 autobahn south of Cologne.

A coach carrying 55 pupils and six members of staff from Thomas Mills High suffered a puncture and pulled on to the hard shoulder.

It was then hit from behind by a lorry carrying sheet metal. It is thought the lorry jack-knifed into the central reservation as it hit the stationery coach, colliding with the coach carrying 36 pupils and five members of staff from Norwich School.

As emergency services worked to rescue people from the mangled wreckage, 20 people who suffered injuries were treated on the grass verges nearby while the more seriously injured were taken to local hospitals.

British Consul-General Peter Tibber said Stuart had been killed by a piece of metal from the lorry which smashed through one of the coach windows.

German police are investigating the cause of the crash.

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