A BOOK of condolence has been opened at St Lawrence’s, Alvechurch, in memory of the popular teacher at the Church of England Middle School, who died after a bus crash in France earlier this week.
Peter Rippington died on Sunday when a coach bringing a party of pupils from Alvechurch Middle School back to the UK from a half-term skiing trip careered down an embankment on a motorway near Reims.
Mr Rippington, aged 59, a maths and PE teacher, was described as “dedicated and inspirational” by the school’s chair of governors.
The Rector of St Lawrence’s, the Revd David Martin, speaking outside the school, said: “The church community is holding all those affected in our prayers, and especially Peter’s family. He was very much part of the wider community in Alvechurch, and known and loved by many.”
Seven people remain in hospital after the crash, including Mr Rippington’s wife, Sharon, and his daughter, Amy. Twenty people were hurt in the crash. The driver of the coach, Derek Thompson, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
In a statement released after a court hearing in Chalons-en-Champagne, the prosecutor, Christian de Rocquigny, said: “In his presentation before a judge late Monday afternoon, the driver explained that he had no recollection of the circumstances of the accident.
“While in custody, after denying falling asleep, the driver acknowledged that it was possible that he was drowsy.”