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Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 23:17 GMT
Prayers for Selby rail victims
Church service for Selby victims
Emotional service: Survivors attended the service
More than 250 people attended a special church service in North Yorkshire on Sunday to remember the victims of the Selby train crash.

The service commemorated those who died in Wednesday's crash and prayers were said for their families and those who were injured.

Prayers were also said for Gary Hart, the driver of the Land Rover which ended up on the track and caused a freight train and a passenger train to collide.


It is an attempt to offer hope beyond the tragedy

Right Reverend Cyril Ashton
The Bishop of Doncaster, the Right Reverend Cyril Ashton, who took the service, also thanked the emergency services for their work.

The 45-minute service was held at the parish church of St Paul in Hensall, a mile from the crash site at Great Heck, where at least 10 people died.

Relatives of three of the crash victims were among the congregation.

They included Mary Dunn, wife of freight train driver Stephen Dunn, who died in the tragedy.

She was accompanied by the couple's young sons, Andrew and James, other family members and police liaison officers.

'Dignity'

Four survivors also attended, along with local villagers, religious leaders, civil officials and representatives from the rail companies and the emergency services.

In his sermon, the Rt Rev Ashton said: "The purpose of the service was not to apportion blame.

"It's an opportunity to commemorate with appropriate dignity those who have lost their lives, to recognise the grief and pain as so many lives have been torn apart, to pray for the injured, the bereaved and the broken and to comfort those who mourn.

"It's also an opportunity to say thank you to those who have offered their compassion, support and their considerable skills in the wake of the accident.

Tributes to victims of Selby
Moving tributes: Families of the victims visited crash site
"Perhaps, above all, it is an attempt to offer hope beyond the tragedy."

The service - jointly organised by Christian churches in the area - was relayed via loudspeakers to people unable to squeeze into crowded St Paul's.

Several relatives were overcome by emotion during the service and left in tears.

The service featured prayers, hymns, readings and a period of quiet reflection for victims of the tragedy.

A formal memorial service is expected to be held in the next few weeks at York Minster.

Police are continuing to search the crash site and say they cannot rule out finding further bodies until all the wreckage has been removed.

Recovery teams aim to complete the removal of the GNER train from the rail side and start the removal of the freight train locomotive by the end of Sunday.

A 27-year-old Coventry man has been charged with wasting police time and obstructing a coroner following the crash.

The charges follow allegations that he telephoned the Train Crash Casualty Bureau and falsely reported that a relative was missing.

He is due to appear before Coventry Magistrates' Court on Monday at 1000GMT.

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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"There were prayers for the dead"
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