Funeral held for schoolgirl Jessica Baker who died in the M53 Merseyside school bus crash

Family and friends have gathered to pay their respects to a teenager killed in a school bus crash.

Jessica Baker, 15, died after the coach she was on veered off the M53 in Hooton, Merseyside after the driver suffered an “event” at the wheel.

Mourners, wearing black and some carrying flowers, arrived for the service at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Blacon, Chester.

Her family walked behind the hearse carrying her coffin and floral tributes as it arrived at the church.

The church was full for the ceremony, with a video link provided to the school next door for those who could not fit.

Her parents Sean and Sarah and sister Rebecca spoke at the service and tributes were paid by her high school and climbing club.

Jessica represented the North West and Wales in climbing competitions across the UK.

Hymns including Abide With Me and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer were sung and the poem She Is Gone was read.

Following the service, members of her family tearfully embraced each other outside the church before the cortege travelled to Blacon Crematorium.

A tribute and fundraising page for Jessica has raised nearly £4,000 for Climbers Against Cancer.

Jessica was a year 11 student at West Kirby High School. Credit: Family photograph

Jessica was a passenger on the bus which was taking her to school along with around 50 other students when it crashed at around 8am.

The teenager suffered “instantaneous” death from “catastrophic” injuries in the crash on the northbound M53 near junction five at Hooton on the Wirral on Friday, 29 September.

After her death, her family said Jessica loved all sports but “her overriding passion” was for both indoor and outdoor climbing.

They said: “Despite being a teenager, Jessica was able to communicate with everyone she came into contact with regardless of their age. She was often seen offering support to fellow climbers on how to achieve a problem/route they were trying to complete.

“Jessica was planning to explore a career in sport in some way and was due to begin her coaching qualifications later this year towards this goal.”

The inquest heard that driver Stephen Shrimpton collapsed at the wheel due to heart disease Credit: Facebook

Stephen Shrimpton, 40, who was also killed in the accident, was driving the coach taking pupils to two local schools, West Kirby Grammar School and Calday Grange Grammar School.

An inquest heard CCTV footage from inside the coach showed Mr Shrimpton slump to his left while driving the coach, which at the same time left the carriageway and went up an embankment before ending up on its side.

A full inquest into the deaths will be held in March 2024.