Tributes to bubbly Yarmouth teen killed in A47 crash

COMMUNITIES across Great Yarmouth were in shock this week following a horror crash which claimed the life of a popular teenage girl and left four others in hospital, some with terrible injuries.

The fallout from Tuesday’s early morning road accident on the A47 at North Burlingham has radiated across the borough devastating family and friends, but also touching many who had never met any of the girls, all in their late teens.

The fatally injured front seat passenger was named by police on Wednesday as former hairdressing student Ellie Tweed, 18, of Hemsby.

Hundreds of messages on a Facebook page set up in the teenager’s memory spoke of their shock and disbelief and of “a most incredible girl” who had so much going for her and whose smile could light up a whole room.

The brutal suddenness of her death has horrified school, college and village communities across the borough, including Caister where some of the girls are believed to live.

Three are former students at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, while another is enrolled on Yarmouth College’s apprenticeship programme in hospitality - their promising lives all put on hold and possibly facing months of recovery.

Laurie Poulson, principal at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “We are totally shocked by this tragic accident. Three of the girls were at the college last year and are well remembered by their teachers and their friends. We send our condolences to the parents of the girl whose life was lost in the accident and we hope for the fullest recovery of the others.”

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A spokesman for Yarmouth College said Ellie had studied hairdressing and had modelled at its shows.

A stunning photo had hung in the department’s reception and been selected by Ellie as her Facebook profile picture, now familiar to hundreds of people - her big eyes looking out from under a sweep of sleek dark hair.

Ellie was pictured in the local press in December 2007 when she was among a group of young entrepreneurs heading to New York following their success in a schools enterprise contest.

The team from Caister High School took part in the Make Your Mark challenge by submitting an innovative electrical sensor called E Sense, a gadget designed to monitor energy use in the home highlighting areas of wastage and spending.

George Denby, headteacher at Caister High, paid tribute to Ellie, who was on the school council and helped with fundraising. He said the school is offering support in the wake of the tragedy.

“She was a very popular girl with a very bubbly personality,” he said. “She had a lot of friends and she was always up for a challenge.

“She loved the opportunity to dress up and have fun and she helped an awful lot in terms of fundraising. She left a lasting impression on the school and will certainly be missed by all the staff who taught her and her friends. It is just a total tragedy.”

The girls were believed to be returning from Halloween celebrations at about 5.30am on Tuesday when the black Fiat Punto they were travelling in was involved in the crash on the A47 at North Burlingham - once dubbed “the killing zone” because of the high number of fatalities.

The car burst into flames after hitting a lorry parked in a lay-by on the Great Yarmouth-bound side of the road close to the Lingwood junction. Dozens of flowers have been placed at the scene.

Just hours after her death hundreds of tributes to Ellie had been left on her Facebook page.

Louise Winstanley wrote: “I’m so glad I met you and you were truly one of the best friends I could have asked for. I wouldn’t change you for the world. I don’t know how I’m going to get over this – I never will. I’m so glad I was with you on your last night.”

Callum Goodley wrote: “I can’t believe it, they say the good die young. You will be missed so much by so many.”

The driver of the lorry was not injured but he was treated for shock.

Details have begun to emerge of what happened in the aftermath of the crash.

On a Facebook page set up in Ellie’s memory a lorry driver wrote he was on the scene and motorists stopped to help the girls and looked after them until the emergency services arrived.

Three girls remain in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in a serious but stable condition. The fourth was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she is in a critical but stable condition.

Jonathan Funnell, 48, lives near to where the crash happened. He said during his 19 years there he had seen more than 20 accidents.

The architectural technologist said: “It’s a very deceptive road. It has got a lot of bends and it’s also a hilly road. There are also a lot of junctions to farms and side roads. I was told it was going to be dualled when I moved here 19 years ago, and then it would have cost �5m, but that’s now up to about �20m.”

The road was closed for some hours and finally reopened at 1.15pm.

Traffic was diverted along the country roads both north and south of the A47, with the route between Lingwood and Blofield held up by slow moving large vehicles trying to pass in the narrow lanes.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the crash. Anyone with information should contact PC Ian Thexton at Norfolk police’s serious collision investigation team on 101.