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Tributes paid to third Prior's Court crash victim

Newbury man Jason Aleixo "touched so many people’s lives with his kindness"

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886633

Tributes paid to third Prior's Court crash victim

Tributes have been paid to Prior's Court School staff member Jason Aleixo.

The family of Mr Aleixo, aged 44, from Newbury, released the following tribute today (Wednesday).

“Jay touched so many people’s lives with his kindness, caring and selfless nature.

“He was a long-standing member of staff at Prior’s Court in Thatcham and was known for his gentle nature and ability to always get the best out of young people.

“He was the best son, father and friend.

“Jay will always be in our hearts and thoughts, and will leave a big hole in our lives.

“He will be so sadly missed.”

Mr Aleixo, Lorraine Maclellan and Catherine Gardiner were killed after a school minibus was involved in a collision with a lorry between junctions 14 and 13 on Thursday.  

The family of 52-year-old Mrs Gardiner, from Reading, released the following tribute: “We are devastated to have lost Cathy. She was a kind, caring and loving person.

“It's lovely to see how many lives she has touched and we have been overwhelmed by all the kind messages and tributes that have come through.

“She loved life and lived it to the fullest. She dedicated her career to helping others. We take comfort in knowing that even after this tragedy she is still helping those in need by donating all of her organs.

“She will be truly missed. A beautiful and amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend.”

The family of Mrs Maclellan, aged 60 from, Farnborough in Hampshire, said: “Lorraine was a loving mother, grandma, daughter, sister and friend.

“She was caring, kind-hearted and adored her grandchildren, and we will all miss her so much.

“She loved her job at Prior’s Court School in Thatcham, and was loved by colleagues and the children at the school.

“We have been overwhelmed by all the support and kindness offered from everyone.

“We are utterly heartbroken. Our mum wasn’t just our mum, but our best friend.”

Chief executive of the school for Autistic people aged 5-25, Mike Robinson, said: "“These people were not just members of staff – they were part of the Prior’s Court family.

"It is impossible to put into words the immense sadness we are all feeling, none more so than their friends and family members to whom we send our deepest condolences.” 

The school has received thousands of messages of support in the wake of the tragedy and has launched a fund to help those who lost their loved ones.

In a statement the school said: "In the wake of this tragedy we are trying to come to terms with what happened, support those recovering and the families, friends and colleagues who are grieving. Our heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

"We have been overwhelmed by messages of support from the public, the families of our young people, colleagues past and present and various organisations around the country since the devastating news last week.

"Many wished to support the loved ones of those directly affected through this difficult time, so we have set up a Family Fund to enable this." 

Donations can be made at https://www.priorscourt.org.uk/donate/familyfund/10/credit-card or through the school's fundraising department to donate on 01635 245918 or fundraising@priorscourt.org.uk  

The school will be collecting donations until December 14, 2018 to ensure the families affected receive the support they need before Christmas.

No arrests have been made in connection with the crash.

Anyone who may have seen what happened or who has dash-cam footage of the incident is asked to contact police.

Anyone with information should call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 quoting reference number URN 545 (11/10) or by using their online form.

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