South East Wales

School minibus crash: Maesteg pupils' tribute to Ashley Talbot

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Media captionPupils have been leaving tributes to Ashley Talbot around the school's Christmas tree

Classmates of a 15-year-old pupil who died following a crash at a school have paid tribute to their "good friend".

Ashley Daniel Talbot was struck by a minibus, which was on its way to a rugby game, at Maesteg School in Bridgend county.

Another pupil, 13, was injured and police are investigating the incident.

PE teacher Chris Brooks, who was driving the minibus, said: "All my thoughts, wishes and prayers are with Ashley's family."

Ashley's classmates wrote a touching tribute which was read out by Keith Edwards, chair of governors at the school, on Thursday.

They paid tribute to his "bubbly" and "infectious" personality and said the gap that Ashley leaves can never be filled.

South Wales Police officers were at the school to speak to witnesses before lessons began on Thursday.

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Media captionThe minibus was taken away on a trailer for examination

The school said it was co-operating with the police investigation and the Health and Safety Executive had been informed.

Head teacher Anne Carhart said the tragedy had rocked the school, and a crisis team of counsellors, educational psychologists and youth workers were helping pupils.

In a statement, she said: "The loss of a pupil is always a sad affair, but especially so when it involves such sudden and tragic circumstances.

"Ashley Talbot was a popular child with lots of friends.

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Media captionChairman of governors, Keith Edwards said the teacher involved is 'quite devastated'

"Maesteg Comprehensive School has always been a strong, close-knit community, and pupils, teachers, staff and governors are all supporting one another in the wake of yesterday's tragic accident.

"As ever, the welfare and well-being of our pupils remains our primary concern, and a range of support services have been put in place to ensure that their needs are being met."

Mr Edwards said a member of staff was driving the minibus and was heading for a rugby match when the crash happened.

Calling the incident a "deep tragedy", MP for Ogmore Huw Irranca-Davies said on Thursday it was "doubly tragic that someone so young has been snatched away".

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Media captionLocal MP Huw Irranca-Davies said it was a 'terrible incident'

He added: "It's hard to imagine the deep grieving of the family of this young man. It's going to take a lot to get through this."

Director of education for Bridgend council, Deborah McMillan said: "We're going to try and make the day as normal as possible but also provide some space for children who need some time out."

Ashley's family are being supported by specially trained officers, police said.

Statement from classmates:

"The gap that Ashley leaves can never be filled. Every morning Ashley would make us smile; his bubbly personality was infectious.

"Ashley was so carefree and would always make us laugh. He was always good company and such a good friend to everyone who knew him.

"He was passionate about his motorbike and fixing cars. Ashley always looked for the good in everyone.

"He will always be in our hearts. He will never be forgotten."

Image caption Floral tributes were left outside the school in memory of Ashley Daniel Talbot
Image caption Flowers have been left outside the school for Ashley Daniel Talbot
Image caption Police were at the school before lessons started, as they begin to speak to witnesses

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