Past and present pupils have been remembering a fellow student tragically killed in a road accident last Christmas.
Friends of Alex Tattersall, 16, gathered on Monday (December 19) at Helsby High School hall, where she was a sixth-former, to share memories, photographs and special messages.
Alex, from Manley, was a front seat passenger in a blue VW Polo driven by her sister Zoe when it was involved in a collision with a red Nissan Micra in Manley Road, near Helsby, about 4.20pm on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
She sadly died at Liverpool’s Walton Centre two days later due to traumatic brain injury and cervical spine fracture.
The inquest heard a build-up of mud on the rural road may have contributed to the accident, leading Dr Janet Napier, assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire, to order an investigation.
A posting on Helsby High School's website, entitled ‘Remembering Alex’, reads: “We all greatly miss her and she lives on in our memories, especially her determination, strength of character, selflessness and her friendship and support.”
Current and ex-students were invited to pay their own tributes in the school hall and to bring flowers, if they wished, to be taken to Alex’s family garden or her grave afterwards.
One theory behind the accident concerned mud found on the road surface with a build-up in the centre of the lane. A collision investigator told the inquest held in September that grip was satisfactory in the tracks where the road wheels would normally travel but traction could have been lost had the wheels clipped the mud.
Dr Napier learned mud was a problem because of an exit from a farmer’s field and an ad hoc lay-by. At the time of the accident the farmer had placed a warning about mud on the road but facing one direction only.
The coroner asked for Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) to investigate what could be done to mitigate problems with mud on the road whether through proper signage, more frequent checking of the road or making the lay-by permanent to prevent mud being spread.
Alex’s sister, who was accompanied to the inquest by her mum Debbie, wasn’t speeding on the 60mph road and was estimated to be travelling at 41mph. However, the coroner heard consideration was already being given to reducing the speed limit to 50mph.
This winter CWaC is running a Road Care scheme inviting people to report any problems on the roads of West Cheshire by visiting: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/roadcare
Alex’s father Adrian described Alex as his ‘beautiful daughter’ during the hearing but was too upset to continue.
She had planned to go to university and wanted to join the police. She also had a strong sense of right and wrong and was ‘determined she wanted to make a difference’. Alex had many school friends at Helsby High and ‘a loving boyfriend’.