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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April 2004, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Tributes to 'talented' Hayley
Hayley Williams
Hayley has been described as "the best friend ever"
Tributes have been paid to teenager Hayley Williams, who died after falling from a water roller coaster at Oakwood theme park in west Wales.

Neighbours in Pontypool, south Wales, Dawson and Gillian Powell, described the music-loving 16-year-old as "wonderful, beautiful and talented."

The Williams have a caravan in Pembrokeshire and she had been on holiday with her mother Beverley and sister Hannah, 13.

Hayley was due back in St Alban's RC High School in Pontypool on Monday, where she was studying for her GCSEs.

She had recently celebrated her birthday and had been to see the band Westlife in Cardiff.

Head teacher Michael Coady described her as "a wonderful, talented girl".

"She was popular with her year group and will be sorely missed," he said.

"She was a very bright girl heading for a string of high grades at GCSE's but more than that she was very talented.

"She was an excellent singer and hoping to come back to study performing arts next year.

"A lot of people were miss her greatly."

There will be a special service held on Monday when the school reopens after the Easter break.

Counselling will be offered to the 1,000 pupils.

She was wonderful with children - playing with her little nephews and nieces. She was marvellous with them
Gillian Powell

Her friend Heidi Bessant said: "She was the best friend ever, she made you smile, was there if you needed her and would help in any way she could."

Neighbour Mr Powell described how Alan Williams, a company director, was very upset when he broke the news of his daughter's death to him over the telephone on Wednesday.

"I was speechless I did not know what to say. I suppose he was crying because I had to wait before he could get it out," he told BBC Radio Wales.

Mrs Powell, who had known Hayley since she was four, said she was a talented singer.

Mr Powell's wife Gillian described Hayley as a " vibrant, beautiful, talented girl."

'Heartbreaking'

"She was at the local comprehensive - singing ...they were even talking about Charlotte Church. She was every bit as good as Charlotte Church. I've been to numerous concerts with her parents," she said.

"She was wonderful with children - playing with her little nephews and nieces. She was marvellous with them."

"We're devastated. The news hasn't sunk in with us. "

Rev Bev Morgan
Reverend Bev Morgan says the community is offering support

Mr Powell said coping with the tragedy was going to difficult for weeks to come for Hayley's family.

"When you get a daughter or a son like that....you know , it's heartbreaking for the parents.

"I dread them coming back. I don't know what I'm going to say to be honest with you."

A local minister, the Reverend Bev Morgan was helping to comfort the family.

He said: "It's a trauma. They're responding simply by being together. Family has come from all around, friends and neighbours, because the community serving Pontnewynydd is very strong."

Chief Inspector Roger Hughes of Dyfed-Powys Police said officers had been consoling the family, who were "distraught."




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