Tributes pour in for teacher killed in crash
Driver arrested after coach carrying pupils from Worcestershire veers off French motorway
Tributes were paid yesterday to a teacher killed in a coach crash in northern France as he returned from an Italian ski trip with his pupils.
Peter Rippington, 59, a teacher at Alvechurch School in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, who was known fondly to pupils as "Mr Ripps", died in the crash near Reims. His wife, Sharon, was also seriously injured. Their daughter, Amy, escaped with minor injuries.
The British driver of the coach was arrested by French police after being treated in hosptal for minor injuries.
Mr Rippington's family said last night: "We, as a family, are devastated at the tragic loss of Peter, a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, friend and teacher. We are still extremely concerned about the health of his wife, Sharon, who was injured and is still recovering in hospital in France. Sharon is accompanied by her daughter, Amy. Until they are safely home we ask that our privacy is respected and that we are left to grieve with our friends and family."
Pupils from the middle school, which takes children aged nine to 13, were travelling on two coaches.
French police said last night that a 13-year-old girl remained in critical condition but her life was no longer in danger after she was flown to the Necker children's hospital in Paris for an emergency operation. Five others, including three children, remained in hospital in Reims. Other passengers escaped with minor injuries.
Hereim Goode, whose son, Keiron, 12, was on the second coach, which was following closely behind the first, said of Mr Rippington: "Everybody loved him, he had been teaching in Alvechurch all his life. He was an outstanding teacher. It was to have been his last ski trip and everybody thought the world of him. Always smiling, always a joker. I have another son at Keele University and when I told him he was heartbroken, that's how loved he was."
A neighbour, Brenda Jarvis, said that Mr Rippington was a "lovely man", adding: "He was due to take early retirement this very summer; it would have been his last trip and now he's gone."
The accident happened near Châlons-en-Champagne at 3am as the school party returned from a skiing holiday in Aosta in the Italian Alps. Police said witnesses had spoken of the vehicle veering slowly to the right, before demolishing a safety barrier and coming to rest on its side in a large ditch.
They said the British driver from Solus Coaches, in Tamworth, Staffordshire, had tested negative for drink or drugs. The "most likely working theory" is that he fell asleep at the wheel, a French police spokesman said.
French investigators will examine the coach's tachograph, which records speeds and driving times, to check if any laws had been broken.
The British ambassador in Paris, Sir Peter Ricketts, and his deputy, Ajay Scharma, visited injured members of the school party in Reims yesterday afternoon. The Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, said: "We will continue to assist both those who were on the coach and their families and friends."
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leak: More celebrities allegedly targeted as third wave of hacked images released
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...