School pays tribute to St Albans coach crash survivor after her death

Andrea Perkins

Andrea Perkins - Credit: Archant

More tributes have been paid to the wheelchair-bound survivor of a fatal coach crash who died last month at the age of 45.

They have come from staff at Beaumont School in St Albans which Andrea Perkins attended both before and after the Ledignan coach crash in 1985 which claimed the lives of a pupil and teacher from Beaumont, four students from Verulam School and the coach driver who suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage at the wheel.

Andrea’s injuries were such that despite the efforts of her mother Maureen, she was never able to walk again but went on to live an independent life in Wheathampstead and latterly in Hatfield.

She died unexpectedly in January at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage with her family at her bedside.

Ed Jones, who was head of sixth form at the time of the coach crash in France, said Andrea had eventually returned to Beaumont after the accident and he had always been impressed with her positive and determined attitude.

He went on: “At the time it was physically very difficult for her to manoeuvre around the school and this took a lot of strength and perseverance. However, she shrugged this off and continued to be as cheerful as ever.”

Mr Jones recalled how, in conjunction with the county council, some ramps were put in place at the school so Andrea had access to the subjects she was studying.

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He added: “She inspired a number of other students, including those who had suffered lesser injuries as a result of the coach crash, and because of her success, attracted pupils to the school who had a range of disabilities.”

A tribute has also come from Theresa Proudfoot, former head of English at Beaumont, who expressed how sad she was to hear about Andrea’s death.

She said: “She was an incredibly resilient young lady who coped bravely both with life-changing injuries and the loss of her closest friend in the accident.

“She was fiercely independent, meeting life’s challenges head on but in my memories of her she was always laughing and living life to the full.”