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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Tributes pour in for crash victims

TRIBUTES have poured in for a Prudhoe teenager and her 14-month-old daughter who were among three killed in a road collision last Wednesday.

Natalie Jade Simpson (18) and her daughter Destiny Reed died when the Renault Megane Scenic they were travelling in was hit by a lorry on the B1404 between Houghton-le-Spring and Seaham.

Also killed was driver of the car Robert Reed (75), who is grandfather to Natalie’s partner and great-grandfather to Destiny. Mr Reed’s wife Margaret (74) was airlifted to hospital, where she was treated for serious injuries.

Since the tragedy, friends have paid tribute to Natalie on social networking websites such as Twitter, on which one described her as “bubbly, smiley, always good to get along with, always a good friend and always there when I was feeling down.”

A Facebook page has also been set up in memory of her and her daughter, and friends who went to school with Natalie are planning a reunion through which to remember her.

Relatives of those involved in the collision said in a joint statement: “The families of Robert Reed, Natalie Simpson and Destiny Reed are devastated by what has happened.

“No words can describe how we are struggling to come to terms with our enormous loss.

“To lose three members of an extended family in one day, including a beautiful baby girl and her young mother who had their whole lives ahead of them, is almost unthinkable.

“We’d like to thank the people from the emergency services for their efforts , and also the staff at James Cook Hospital as they continue to care for Margaret.”

The fatal collision occurred at 12.20pm on a 60mph stretch of road, and caused the Volvo truck to veer through two hedges and into nearby Sharpley Golf Club.

The driver of the lorry, from Hetton-le-Hole, was treated in hospital for whiplash injuries before being arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

He has been released on police bail until June 14, pending further inquiries.

A former Prudhoe High School student, Natalie had gone on to study hairdressing at Newcastle College.

In 2008, she was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Northumbria Police after helping save the life of 18-year-old Michael Nixon, who was in distress in the River Tyne at Prudhoe.

Natalie called an ambulance and directed the crew from Prudhoe railway station as teenagers Matthew Appleby and Marc Sagar helped 51-year-old Anne Lewis to get Michael out of the water.

Newcastle College’s deputy principal Carole Kitching said: “We were deeply saddened to hear the news of this tragic accident.

“Natalie left the college last year after achieving a Level 1 in hairdressing and hoped to return to complete her Level 2.

“She was a very enthusiastic and dedicated young woman who was extremely well liked by her tutors and fellow students.

“Our thoughts go out to her family and friends at this very sad time.”

Headteacher of Prudhoe High School Dr Iain Shaw said: “Natalie Jade, a former pupil of Prudhoe Community High School, is remembered as a caring and thoughtful young lady.

“She embraced motherhood with enthusiasm and maturity.

“It was clear that she would be a proud mother to her daughter.

“Both staff and pupils are saddened by the tragic news and our thoughts go out to the family.”

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