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  • Families of pupil and staff member killed in motorway crash pay tribute to their loved ones

    Henry James

    FAMILIES of a mother-of-two and a teenager who died in a crash on the M58 motorway near Skelmersdale have paid tributes to their loved ones.

    Anne Kerr, 50, from Southport and 14-year-old Joe Cairns, from Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, suffered fatal injuries in the accident - involving a number of vehicles including an HGV and a minibus – which occurred at about 8.45am on Tuesday (January 8) on the westbound carriageway of the motorway close to junction 3.

    Mrs Kerr was a member of staff at Pontville School in Ormskirk, which caters for pupils with special educational needs. Joe Cairns was a pupil at the school. Both were travelling in the minibus and died at the scene.

    A statement on behalf of Mrs Kerr’s family read: “Anne was much loved by all who knew her. She will be deeply missed by all her friends and family.

    “She was a daughter, wife, and mum to two lovely boys. She was a lovely personality to be around. Her death has left us all heartbroken.”

    Joe Cairns’ parents, Steph and Andy Cairns, commented: “Joe, my brave boy, a true fighter with a heart of gold. An amazing sense of humour and infectious smile, a true superhero.”

    Meanwhile Pontville School headteacher, Justine Sims, said: "We are deeply shocked to learn of the terrible accident that took place on Tuesday involving a minibus carrying a number of our young people and staff.

    "It is with the deepest sadness that we can confirm that one young person and one member of staff on board the minibus have died and the remaining four have been taken to hospital.

    "Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families of the deceased at this sad time. Our overriding priority is to provide help and support to classmates, colleagues and families of those involved in the accident as best we can.

    "Our hearts are filled with sadness as we grieve the tragic loss of Anne Kerr. Anne was a caring member of staff who went out of her way to support the young people at Pontville.

    "We have been inundated with condolence wishes from our families and pupils, including those involved in the incident."

    Additional therapeutic staff have been supporting pupils at the school.

    The driver of the HGV vehicle, a 31-year-old man from Chorley, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

    A number of other people also suffered serious injuries and continue to be treated at hospital.

    The fatal crash was followed by a second collision, at around 10.10am, in the queuing traffic and involved an HGV, a van and two cars.

    As a result, a woman and two men suffered serious injuries and have been detained at Aintree Hospital for treatment.

    Sergeant Steve Wignall of Lancashire Police said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of everyone affected by these tragic incidents. We have specially trained officers supporting them at this very sad and difficult time.

    “We need anyone who saw either of the collisions but hasn’t spoken to us already, to come forward. You may have vital information to assist our investigation.”

    Anyone with information about either collision can call 101 quoting log number 275 of Tuesday, January 8.

    West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the young boy and woman killed in the crash on the M58 and the others who were injured. Thanks to the emergency services for their response and to the nurses and doctors involved.

    “I have spoken with Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Constabulary since the incident who are co-ordinating support to the families, friends and school involved, as well as investigating the cause of the accident and immediately making the junction safe for motorists.”

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