‘They were shining lights of the school’

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This was the scene at a South Yorkshire school as ‘devastated’ staff and students began to come to terms with the loss of five teenagers who died in a horrific crash.

Friends of Blake Cairns, aged 16, Arpad Kore, 18, Jordanna Goodwin, 16, Megan Storey, 16, and Bartosz Bortniczak, 18 – who died in the two-car collision on Saturday – were in tears and comforted each other as they laid scores of floral tributes outside Danum Academy in Doncaster. Four of the five were students in Danum’s sixth form while Bartosz was a former pupil.

Floral tributes outside Danum Academy in Doncaster for the five teenagers who died in a two-car collision on Saturday.

Floral tributes outside Danum Academy in Doncaster for the five teenagers who died in a two-car collision on Saturday.

(http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/lanterns-light-up-the-night-sky-in-moving-tribute-to-tragic-doncaster-teens-1-6958109|Lanterns light up the sky in movng tribute to tragic Doncaster teens|click here}

Headteacher Rebecca Staples called the deaths of the teenagers a ‘huge loss to Doncaster’.

She said: “No-one woke up on Sunday and expected to find out that this had happened. We’re all devastated.

“They were such wonderful children. These were the sort of children who pupils looked up to, who everyone knew. They were shining lights of the school. And not having them here is absolutely dreadful.”

Tributes at Danum Academy. Picture: Marie Caley

Tributes at Danum Academy. Picture: Marie Caley

After a memorial assembly yesterday, Danum Academy pupils have been attempting to deal with their ‘overwhelming grief’ by speaking to counsellors, using quiet rooms and paying ‘tribute in their own way’.

“The children are doing their very best to cope,” added Mrs Staples.

“They are supporting each other, looking after each other. Some have been crying, others are being quiet. Some have been writing in books of condolence, some are having time just to remember each of them. Each person, not just each child, needs to find their own way of coping with this. And all we can do is support them as they do that.

“We don’t know how we’re going to move forward at this time. All we can do is take each day as it comes and try to support each other through it all.”

The five friends who died were all in a blue Toyota Corolla which was in collision with a grey Seat Leon on the A630 just outside Conisbrough at about 9.40pm on Saturday.

It happened about 100 metres from the scene of a crash in 2011 in which three teenagers died.

Among the hundreds of mourners paying their respects at the school was sixth-former Kate Speakman. She said: “It’s really overwhelming. I just can’t believe it. It’s really difficult to say goodbye to them, so quickly.”

Kate said of the memorial assembly “I’m proud that I go to a school where they do this and they make sure everyone’s OK. They’re really trying their best to support everyone.”

She described her friend Jordanna, the school prom queen, as ‘amazing’: “She was really pretty and she was so talented and it’s just not fair.”

Fellow sixth-former Lucy Turton said: “It’s so hard on everyone, even those who didn’t know them that well. Everyone’s devastated.”

South Yorkshire Police believe a third car – a black Vauxhall Corsa – may have been involved in Saturday’s incident. A 21-year-old Doncaster man, who was driving the Corsa, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and later released on bail.

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