Tributes to schoolboy killed in Germany
THE parents of a 14-year-old boy killed in a bus crash in Germany while heading to a ski resort have said he “could never be replaced”.Robert and Jackie Dines paid tribute last night to their teenage son Stuart, who was killed when two coaches taking pupils from two East Anglian schools were involved in a crash with a lorry just outside Cologne.
By Danielle Nuttall
THE parents of a 14-year-old boy killed in a bus crash in Germany while heading to a ski resort have said he “could never be replaced”.
Robert and Jackie Dines paid tribute last night to their teenage son Stuart, who was killed when two coaches taking pupils from two East Anglian schools were involved in a crash with a lorry just outside Cologne.
The couple, who live in Woodbridge and also have an older son, Ian, and a daughter, Rachel, said: “Stuart would always make you laugh, whatever the situation. He was a very loyal son and brother, who was extremely caring and could never be replaced.
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“He will never be forgotten by anyone who knew him and will remain with us forever.”
The crash happened in the early hours of Saturday on the A4 autobahn after a coach carrying 55 pupils from Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham plus six staff and two ski guides suffered a puncture and had to pull over on to the hard shoulder.
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The stationary vehicle was then hit from behind by a lorry carrying sheet metal which was also hit by a second coach, carrying pupils from a school in Norwich. Both East Anglian schools had been heading to skiing resorts for the half-term holiday.
Stuart's death has shocked and devastated his friends and staff at Thomas Mills.
The popular teenager was a happy pupil who “threw himself” into school life, according to his teachers.
The year 10 pupil was studying hard for his GCSEs but was also involved in a variety of extra curricular activities at school, including the trampolining club and the school rugby team.
Colin Hirst, headteacher of Thomas Mills, said the last memory he had of the teenager was telling him to “tuck your shirt in”.
“Of course he obeyed totally appropriately, and with a grin. He was a polite and courteous, very respectable young man,” the 51-year-old said.
“I have only been headteacher since September. Already in the short time I have been here I had come to know Stuart as a very active and popular member of the school community. He involved himself in the life of the school, in the trampolining club. He played rugby for the school.
“He was just a lovely young teenager. His head of year described him as a pupil who threw himself into life at Thomas Mills High School.
“She describes him as a young man who always had a smile on his face.”
Stuart was also a talented swimmer who used to be a member of Deben Swimming Club, where his mother used to teach.
Last night head coach Ian Cotton said members had been very upset by the news.
“He enjoyed his swimming. He certainly did very well in the groups he was in. He was a very happy outgoing young lad,” he added.
Exactly a year to the day before the crash, Stuart appeared in an article in the East Anglian Daily Times after he had been the victim of a mobile phone ringtone scam.
Stuart's older sister Rachel had joined the EADT for a period of work experience as she hoped to embark on a journalistic career.
She had written a story about her brother, who ended up with a huge bill for a ringtone he thought cost 50p. The article appeared on Friday, February 11, 2005.
Throughout the weekend, friends and fellow school pupils laid dozens of flowers, teddy bears and candle tributes outside the main entrance to the school in memory of Stuart.
One from a year seven pupil read: “God now has you in his arms. May God bless and comfort each one of us with peace and hope, faith and love.”
A second heartbroken pupil wrote: “Dearest Stuart, I will always remember you as a happy, caring person. You will be missed by all of us.”
Another read: “Miss you loads. Your smile will never leave us and neither will you.”
Perhaps the most poignant of all said: “If I could reach up and take a star for every time you have made me smile, the entire night sky would be in the palm of my hands.''
Shocked residents in the town chose their own way to express their sadness yesterday. Many packed a special church service, while Framlingham Town FC held a minute silence before yesterday's match against Grundisburgh.