UK

M62 Crash Vigil: Student Nurse Bethany Jones 'Will Never Be Forgotten'

29/04/2013 08:44 BST

A vigil has been held to remember an 18-year-old woman who died in a horrific motorway crash which left eight other women from a hen party seriously injured, including the bride-to-be.

Student nurse Bethany Jones, 18, was killed and 20 other women were hurt when their bus collided with a lorry on the M62 near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, on Friday.

They were travelling from the small former mining town of South Elmsall to Liverpool for a hen night to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of Stefanie Firth.

m62 crash

Her family said they will never forget Bethany

Miss Firth, 24, remains in Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) along with six other women injured in the crash, one in intensive care.

She is said to have serious spinal injuries as well as a ruptured spleen.

Her fiance - Gary Leafe - is said to be maintaining a vigil at her bedside.

His mother, Lesley Leafe, is also reported to be among the seriously injured still detained at the LGI.

m62 crash

Firefighters called the crash 'the worst they had seen in a number of years'

An eighth woman is in hospital in Middlesbrough.

Last night, dozens of people gathered in the centre of South Elmsall to remember Miss Jones.

Her friend, Hannah Bell, told BBC Look North: "We put some candles here for Beth and then we went up to the church further up the road and laid our flowers, tributes that we'd all written and more candles and then we all said prayers for her."

Miss Bell said: "It's just something she would have wanted.

"If it had been any of us she would have done exactly the same."

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Six air ambulances were used in the rescue operation

Bethany Billington said: "We didn't believe it. We couldn't believe it was Beth. And then, when we did, it was pure devastation. It was awful."

In a statement issued at the weekend, Miss Jones's family said: "Beth was a fun and bubbly girl who was caring and considerate to everyone she met.

"She was the apple of her grandad's eye and she will never be forgotten and sadly missed by everyone."

The crash happened at about 11.30am on Friday soon after the hen party set off from South Elmsall.

The driver of the lorry was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released on bail, police said.

The collision, near the exit slip road at junction 32 westbound, left the minibus on its side across a carriageway and luggage strewn across the motorway.

Firefighters called the crash "the worst they had seen in a number of years", and six air ambulances were called to the scene.

Now friends of those who were injured have launched an appeal to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance - which was not actually one of those which attended the incident due to maintenance.

One of the web pages devoted to the appeal says: "We are two 10-year-old girls from South Elmsall.

"We have decided to do a five-mile fun run to raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance after it gave much-needed help and support to 21 ladies from our village who were injured in a crash on the M62 on their way to a hen party.

"An 18-year-old girl from the end of my street was killed. So please give as much or as little as you can afford - every penny helps."