Three students die in South Africa car crash

Dorset school friends had spent months planning and working for gap-year trip

Three British teenagers have been killed in a head-on car crash in South Africa while on a gap-year trip round the world.

Childhood friends Nick Thompson, 19, Oli Mobsby and Ed Lowton, both 18, were returning from a safari expedition when the crash took place 70 miles north of Cape Town. They had taken A-levels at the same school and were due to start studying at York University in September.

Police said the car in which they were travelling was overtaking when it collided with an on-coming vehicle. The three occupants of that car were in a serious condition.

In a joint statement, the families of the teenagers said the friends had been "having the time of their lives".

"From the phone calls home, text messages, photographs, postings on Facebook and words from friends they made there, it was clear [they] were having the time of their lives.

"The families are very grateful for all the support we have had from their friends and the tributes paid to them. This includes floral tributes left at North Dorset Rugby Club, the minute's silence before rugby and football games and the memorial drinks and parties to celebrate their lives," the statement said.

The friends set off for South Africa in January after completing their studies at Gillingham School in Dorset last year. They were also planning to visit Thailand, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and America.

The crash happened on 9 March.

Mr Mobsby, from Bourton, Dorset, and Mr Thompson, from Stalbridge, Dorset, both played rugby for North Dorset Colts. Mr Lowton lived in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

Mr Mobsby's father, Stephen Mobsby, said: "South Africa was the first stage in a gap year round-the-world trip that the boys had been planning and working towards since before they finished in the sixth form at Gillingham School. It was to be their great adventure before taking up their places at university."

Friends, family and teachers yesterday paid tribute to the trio on their Facebook sites. One of Mr Lowton's former teachers at Gillingham School, Lizzy Boston, said: "Ed – you know how much I enjoyed teaching you. I can still picture you with Nick, George and Dave in the back row of my classroom, always so cheeky and mischievous and making me and your peers laugh.

"Your wit was so refreshing and intelligent that I could never get cross with you. What an achievement to have lived such a fruitful life at such a young age and to have had such a positive influence and impact on those people you came across." A friend of the trio, Abbi Horsman, said: "You were truly such fantastic guys. I'm really going to miss you. There was never a dull moment with you around. You will never be forgotten, words can't describe how much everyone is going to miss you."

Mr Mobsby's friend Colette Davidson wrote: "I just want to say thank you so much for always being there for me, giving me advice on everything and always making the time to talk to me. I've never met anyone quite like you and probably never will. I'll always regret the times in which we didn't speak for the rest of my life but I'll treasure the memories I have forever."

The three occupants of the other car, a 59-year-old South African man and his sons, aged 25 and 23, are still in hospital with critical injuries.

A memorial service for the teenagers was held in Cape Town on Saturday. Their funerals will be held later this month and in April.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SECONDARY SUPPLY TEACHERS NEEDED IN AND AROUND SWALE

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Description Randstad Education i...

Geography Teacher, full time supply role, Thanet Academy

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The School Randstad are proud to...

Science Teacher, full time supply role, Thanet Academy

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The School Randstad are proud to...

English Teacher, full time supply role, Isle of Sheppey

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job: Our client school is lo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week