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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 19:02 GMT
Tributes paid to rail crash dead
Leslie Charles Matthews, who died in the Ufton Nervet rail
Charlie Matthews was travelling to a family party after a football match
One man had been travelling back from watching his beloved football team, it was revealed, as relatives of Berkshire crash victims spoke of their loss.

Charlie Matthews, 72, had been to see Reading Football Club and was due at a bonfire party with his family.

Another victim, Barry Strevens, 55, of Wells, Somerset, was described as a "kind and gentle" father by his family.

Meanwhile school friends of Emily Webster, 14, of Devon, will open a book of remembrance.

Ticket holder

Charlie, whose full name was Leslie Charles Matthews, was a Reading season ticker holder who had been due to celebrate his 73rd birthday on November 21.

He had caught the train home after his team beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Madjeski Stadium.

His family said he made the same journey after every home match.

He was among seven people killed when a train ploughed into a car parked on a level crossing between Newbury and Reading on Saturday evening.

A statement released on behalf of the family said: "Anyone who knew Charlie will remember his sense of humour and his friendly, sociable personality.

"At the time of the accident he was travelling to a family fireworks party and was awaited by wife Jean and the families of their two children, including his four grandchildren."

Mr Matthews, who married in 1953, had worked for the Legal and General Assurance Company. He retired to Warminster, Wiltshire, in 1986.

He died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital on Sunday afternoon.

"The family want to thank the staff at the RBH for the sensitive manner in which they cared for Charlie and gave support at this difficult time," the family said.

'Gentle' father

Meanwhile. the family of 55-year-old victim of Barry Strevens said he was a gentle father-of-four.

Mr Strevens, of Wells, Somerset, lived with his wife Jacqueline and two sons, Ollie, two, and Toby, five months.

Mr Strevens also had two grown-up daughters from a previous relationship.

In a statement released by Avon and Somerset Police the family said they were devastated.

The statement said: "Barry was a wonderfully kind, generous and gentle man with a vibrant sense of humour.

"His sparkling personality radiated warmth and love and made a positive impact on everyone he came into contact with. It has been a wonderful privilege to know him."

Mr Strevens was a management consultant. A neighbour said he used to commute regularly to London from Castle Cary station.

Mr Strevens had completed two masters degrees and had an expert interest in Eastern astrology and studied meditation.

Pupils' support

Elsewhere, school friends of 14-year-old Emily Webster, from Moretonhampstead, Devon, intend to open a book of remembrance.

Emily was a pupil at Maynard School in Exeter.

Emily Webster, who died in the Ufton Nervet rail crash
Emily Webster had been travelling with a friend from school

The school's deputy headteacher, Ann Boyce, said: "Her friends are planning to build up a book of remembrance about Emily and the way that she used to keep them amused.

"She had a very quirky sense of humour and kept her friends endlessly amused.

"She was a very bright girl as well and had lots of potential."

Mrs Boyce added: "The girls are naturally shocked and very upset by Emily's death and the school is ensuring that the pupils get the support that they need at this very difficult time."

Another of the school's pupils, who has not yet named, was travelling with Emily. She was hurt in the crash but is said to be making a good recovery.

The school's headteacher, Dr Daphne West, who was returning from a conference, suffered a head injury in the crash and is at home.

She is not expected to return to the school until next week.


SEE ALSO:
Crash victim family 'devastated'
09 Nov 04 |  Somerset
Family tribute to 'sociable' man
09 Nov 04 |  Wiltshire



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