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By Belinda 

Yesterday afternoon our phone rang several times and each time there was no sound at the other end when we answered, not even a dial tone. In the end we thought we had a phone problem.

Today, because I was home for Family Day, I called England to share some news with Rob and Mum and found out that it had been Rob trying to get through to us with the news of the tragic accident.

Peter Rippington, the teacher who died in the crash, was only 59, and had been a school mate of Rob's when they were both students at Alvechurch Church of England School. His older sister Elizabeth was in my class.

Rob said that Peter was going to retire this year and was already saying he was not going to be taking the children on any more trips..

Peter's 25 year old daughter Amy, was also on the bus that crashed. I have a photograph of her with my nephew John, who was in a school Christmas concert with her when they were about 5. She was Mary and he was Joseph.

In Alvechurch everyone knows everyone else and generations continue to live side by side in the lovely little village.

My heartfelt prayers are for Peter's wife Sharon, Amy, his fellow teachers, and all of the students dealing with the terrible shock of losing a beloved teacher so suddenly and also for the 13 year old girl who had to have emergency surgery in France.

I also pray for the 47 year old driver, Derek Thompson, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. He is thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel.

How fragile life is. No guarantees for a moment beyond the one we have. 


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