Friends of the late West Kirby Grammar School pupil Jessica Baker are being encouraged to share their memories of her on a new website.
In a statement issued by Merseyside Police, the family of the 15-year-old have thanked people for “their very kind comments and offers of support during this extremely difficult time”.
Jessica died last month when the bus she was travelling to school in overturned on the M53 near Eastham. The driver of the coach, Stephen Shrimpton, was also killed.
Her family have revealed she planned to have a career in sport, and was due to begin coaching qualifications later this year.
They said: “Jessica was a talented and dedicated climber who competed over the last seven years of her life across the UK representing both the North West and Wales.
“Jessica loved all sports and chose GCSE PE as one of her options, but her overriding passion was for both indoor and outdoor climbing.
“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.”
Detective Sergeant Andy Roper, of the Merseyside Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Our thoughts remain not only with Jessica’s family but the bus driver Stephen Shrimpton’s family who also passed away and are being supported by specially trained Police Officers.
“My team and I have held a meeting with the families of the other 57 children involved and they are being supported and updated on the progress of the investigation. On behalf of those families, I would like to thank those people who stopped and helped in the immediate aftermath of this tragic incident.
“A police investigation into this incident is ongoing which will be submitted to the coroner ahead of an inquest early next year. If you have any new information please continue to let our officers know.”
A ‘Much Loved’ website page has been set up for people to share their photos, videos and thoughts of Jessica, as well as donate in her memory to a charity called Climbers Against Cancer.
Some of the people who knew Jessica have already left messages.
Michelle Tinsley wrote: “As a member of staff from your primary school I hold very dear memories of you Jess, you were smashing out those sporting achievements then at such a young age. Always smiling and so polite. God bless xx.”
Liv Oakes said: “Jess was a dedicated, strong, talented and kindhearted girl with a beautiful soul. I trained with Jess at The North West Face on the “Wednesday club” as we called it; a small group of 5 or 6 dedicated, advanced and close knitted kiddos all encouraging each other and having the best time. I specifically remember myself and another in the group encouraging Jess to conquer her fears of lead falls with optimism and motivation, which like many other skills she quickly became brilliant at. I will always remember Jess as a passionate, giggly and talented member of our team. Climb high kiddo, save us some shoes up there.”
Madison added: “I remember playing so many sports events with Jess for Wallis. It still seems like a bad dream everything that has happened. I’m one of the Wallis house captains, and I ended up playing house hockey as we didn’t have enough players. I was apparently holding the hockey stick the wrong way according to Jess, and so she literally taught me the rules of hockey in the car park of the school playing fields. I remember laughing a lot and she also seemed to find it funny that I’d ended up playing a sport I didn’t know how to play. We actually came sixth in the end, but we were both just laughing and smiling the whole way through. Sports day last year I remember we both has the red paint on obviously, and she was the only non-sixth former running the relay. She came up to me after the race telling me she could have ran faster, which was crazy because she was one of the fastest ones there. I remember a few days before the accident, I was trying to coerce her into joining house music. Every event was more fun with her, and I enjoyed every moment I got to spend with her. Fly high Jess, you beautiful girl, we all love and miss you more than anything.”
The website can be found at https://jessicabaker.muchloved.com/.
A fundraising appeal to build a climbing wall at West Kirby Grammar School in her memory has so far raised more than £26,000 of the £30,000 target.
Jessica’s funeral will take place on Friday 27 October at St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Blacon.