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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 14:47 GMT
Mourners gather for crash funeral
Order of funeral service

More than 1,000 mourners gathered for the two funerals of four teenage girls killed in a car crash on a mountain road in south Wales.

There was one joint service for Louise Jones, 16 and Danielle Caswell, 15 and later another for Kayleigh Parry, 16, and Katie Roberts, 15.

Their white coffins emerged from the church to Westlife's You Raise Me Up.

The four friends, pupils at Glyncoed Comprehensive School, died in the crash on 2 November.

The girls, who were passengers in the backseat, died on the B4560 Llangynidr to Beaufort road, near Ebbw Vale.

The 17-year-old driver and front seat passenger, another boy aged 17, were treated in hospital. Schools in the area closed so pupils could attend the services at the town's Christ Church.

Pupils and teachers from both Glyncoed and Ebbw Vale Comprehensive Schools were present, as well as staff from a number of local primary schools.

The Reverend Geoff Waggett conducted the service with his colleague the Reverend Jackie Carter.

Coffins being led from the church
A white coffin is carried from Christ Church to awaiting hearse

Cremations followed at Gwent Crematorium in Croesyceliog.

Head teacher of Glyncoed Comprehensive, Colin James, read the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 13 verses four to eight.

Dignitaries included Blaenau Gwent MP Dai Davies and Assembly Member Trish Law, plus senior representatives from both Gwent and Dyfed-Powys Police who are investigating the crash.

Although the church can seat around 550, the services were relayed over loud speakers to a sizeable crowd outside who assembled in the rain.

Speaking before the services, the Rev Waggett said: "I have never been involved in a situation like this before.

"It is clearly a tragedy and a traumatic situation for the family and for the school and for the girls friends, and it has affected the whole town.

"We are a population of about 30,000 people and I have never known anything like this - it's been an outpouring of a mixture of grief, concern and community spirit."

Mourners gather outside Christ Church, Ebbw Vale
Loudspeakers will relay the service to mourners outside

Opening a tribute to the girls, the Rev Carter said: "I want you to imagine for a moment, that you walk into a room and the room is empty except for a beautiful tapestry hanging on the wall.

"It is so striking that you cannot take your eyes away from it.

"As you look at this tapestry, you are aware that there are four characters, four young girls, four friends, all very different, but as you look at the picture, there is a balance and flow highlighting the beauty of the picture."

The church was opened at 0830 GMT for prayers.

  • A 17-year-old boy arrested after the crash has been released on bail after being questioned on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

    "A community has come together"

    Boy, 17, bailed after road deaths
    12 Nov 06 |  South East Wales

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