HEADTEACHER David Bowes today delivered a moving tribute to his three pupils killed in the Alps coach crash last week. Mr Bowes told parents, pupils, staff, governors and friends in a packed assembly at St James's School this morning that the spirit of the three youngsters would stay with them always. The school was open again for lessons this morning with registration followed by a special school assembly in the sports hall.

Nicola Moore, 15, and Keith Ridding and Robert Boardman, both 14, died when their coach plunged down a ravine. Thirteen other pupils were injured. The school was closed after the accident a week ago. Today was the first time pupils were back in school uniform.

Flowers, fastened to railings outside the school, were brought inside early this morning to be part of the vast array of tributes and messages which have flooded into the school from all over the country.

Two of those who were on the coach, Sara Haj-jabbari and Suzanne Hunt, both 15, read out a moving tribute to their friends who died, written at the beginning of the century by the Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, Henry Scott Holland.

Head Boy Martin Foulkes, who was on the trip to the Alps but not on the coach which crashed, read Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd.

Religious Education teacher, the Rev Karen Owen, who was at the school all last week organising daily worship services and helping with counselling, said prayers.

Peter Noone, chairman of governors and Pauline Hearn, head of Religious Education and a Methodist lay preacher also made contributions.

Paying a heartfelt tribute to the three youngsters who died, Mr Bowes said: "They were so young, God. So young and strong and filled with promise. So vital, so radiant, giving so much joy wherever they went. They were so brilliant. On these three children you lavished so many talents that could have enriched your world. They had already received so many honours and there were so many honours to come.

"Let us thank you for the marvel that these children were. That we can say goodbye to them without shame or regret, rejoicing in the blessed years they were given to us, knowing that their bright young lives, their many gifts have not been stilled or wasted, only lifted to a higher level where the rest of us can't follow yet.

"Separation? Yes. Loss? Never. For their spirit will be with us always and when we meet them again we will be even more proud."

The assembly ended with the staff choir singing the words of the blessing to the words of John Rutter. "The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace."

The accident happened last Monday while the children were on a trip to the French Alps. Pupils and staff who survived told amazing stories of bravery and heroism as the whole country mourned.

Coach driver Jim Shaw, 43, from Manchester, flew back by private air ambulance last week. Mr Shaw, married with two children and a driver with Charterplan Coaches of Stockport, was taken straight to hospital. Joint funeral for boys THE funerals will take place on Thursday of Robert Boardman and Keith Ridding.

The young pals will be buried together following a service at St Anne's Church in Clifton.

Robert and Keith, together with Nicola Moore aged 15, who also died in the crash were flown home at the weekend.

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