Alvechurch C of E Middle School website

A man has died and several passengers injured following a coach crash near Reims in Northern France in the early hours of Sunday (19th February) morning.

The coach was one of two returning pupils from Alvechurch Church of England Middle School, Birmingham Road, Alvechurch from a half term skiing trip along with other tour passengers.

According to the BBC News website, “Local sources said the dead man was aged 61. Five people were seriously injured and 22 suffered minor injuries after the coach left the motorway.”

People worried about family and friends can contact the Foreign Office helpline for information:  0207 008 1500.

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UPDATED 17:50 

The family of teacher Peter  Rippington, who died in the crash, have issued a statement via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office:

“We ask that our privacy is respected and that we are left to grieve with our friends and family. 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, who escaped the incident with minor injuries.

“Until they are safely home we ask that our privacy is respected and that we are left to grieve with our friends and family.”

Several other passengers

West Mercia Police and Worcestershire County Council have issued a joint statement regarding the incident. Both are working with Alvechurch Middle School to provide support. 

Superintendent Steve Cullen said: “This is a very sad incident and I want to express our sympathy to all those affected by the crash.

“I also want to reassure local people that we are doing all we can to help and support the families of the children and members of staff involved. Specially trained family liaison officers have been put in place at the school and a dedicated support team of experienced officers are liaising with the FCO.

“Local policing officers from the Alvechurch area are also on the ground and supporting the school and local residents in any way they can.”

Cllr Liz Eyre, Lead Member for Children’s Services said: “We are shocked and saddened about the accident early this morning.  Our thoughts are with those involved and their families.

“The County Council’s Crisis Support team are working closely with the school to provide support and advice to the parents, carers and of course the passengers returning back from the school trip.”

The school is planning to open tomorrow, where teachers and specially trained staff will continue to provide support to those affected.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said: ““Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with everyone involved in or affected by the tragic coach crash in Northern France earlier today. The French authorities are investigating the accident and we are working closely with them.”

Nine people remain in hospital, including one girl from the Alvechurch school who is in a coma in a hospital in Paris. Her friends have been asking Twitter users to #PrayforSuzie

People worried about family and friends can contact the Foreign Office helpline for information:  0207 008 1500.

Messages of support are being shared on twitter using the #RIPMrRippington and #prayforsuzie hashtags

B31 Voices extends best wishes to anyone involved in the incident, their families and their friends and anyone who has been affected.

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Read more about the accident on:

Foreign & Commonwealth Office website

BBC News website

BRMB website

Birmingham Mail

Birmingham Post

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