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Horse-mad girl knocked down in front of friends: Transport disaster that claims huge numbers of victims is accepted as the price society pays for the car

AT TEA-TIME on Saturday 5 December, 14-year-old Carrie Jo Worrall left her home in Pepper Street, Widnes, for nearby Hale Gate Farm to see her favourite horse - Babycham. She was accompanied by three schoolfriends, writes Jojo Moyes.

Carrie was passionate about horses. Out of school, she was a helper at the riding school, learning to ride and look after horses, and she planned to go to college to train as a riding instructor.

The four girls caught the bus to Hale Gate Lane - part of a two-mile stretch of countryside between the built-up areas of Widnes and Hale village in Cheshire. Banked by hedges, it is a typical country lane but for the fact that, according to locals, it suffers a disproportionate amount of traffic.

The entrance to Hale Gate Farm sits on a slight bend, with poor visibility. It was here, at approximately 5.15pm, that Carrie stepped off the bus and, in her excitement to get across the road and into the farm, walked straight into the path of a Vauxhall Carlton Estate in full view of her friends.

Shortly afterwards, her mother Margaret Worrall and her second husband Neil were driving home from the shops when they pulled over to let an ambulance past. Her mother, sensing something wrong, rushed into the crowd gathered round the accident. There one of Carrie's distraught friends turned to her and said she was sorry. Carrie was rushed to Whiston Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

'Her family and friends are just devastated,' Judith Jackson, Carrie's headmistress at Wade Deacon School, said. 'She was a popular girl with lots of friends - a lovely outgoing girl. It was particularly devastating because some of her friends were with her. They are struggling to come to terms with it.'

Carrie had recently taken part in the school production of Sleeping Beauty and was working towards her GCSE examinations. Her 11-year-old sister, Leah, also a pupil at the school, has not yet returned to her classes. According to Ms Jackson, she is 'devastated, as is the whole family'.

Margaret Worrall has called for a reduced speed limit on Hale Gate Lane - which currently has a national speed limit - from 70 to 40 and says she has the backing of numerous residents who are worried about traffic speed.

Carrie's funeral took place on 10 December. Her funeral procession travelled through Wade Deacon School, accompanied by the horses from Hale Gate Farm.

(Photograph omitted)