SCHOOLS from across the North West took part in a rugby tournament in memory of schoolgirl Jessica Baker.

Jessica was killed last September when a school bus overturned after crashing into a reservation on the northbound section near junction five at Hooton.

Both the 15-year-old West Kirby Grammar School pupil, Jessica Baker, and the 40-year-old driver, Stephen Shrimpton, died in the incident. 

On Monday, January 15, Caldy Rugby Club hosted a memorial rugby tournament in memory of Jessica.

Chester and District Standard: Jessica BakerJessica Baker (Image: Merseyside Police)

Jessica’s head of year and PE teacher, Kim Higham, co-ordinated the event which saw 14 schools from Wirral, Chester and Wigan take part.

Miss Hingham said: “The morning activities were a carousel of rugby based skills that allowed the girls to gain some experience in playing rugby as some had never taken part before.

“With the help of coaches from Sale Sharks, Caldy and Birkenhead Park we were able to offer six carousel stations with an average of 25 girls on each station at a time.

“This event also allowed Caldy and WKGS sixth form leaders to shine and showcase their rugby knowledge, leading on the carousel with the other coaches. 

Chester and District Standard: Girls from schools across the North West joined together to play rugbyGirls from schools across the North West joined together to play rugby (Image: West Kirby Grammar School)

“The morning's event covered three pitches at the rugby club which proved to be a fantastic sight for spectators and passers-by, seeing just how many girls were involved.

“In the afternoon all schools took part in a Tag Rugby tournament as this proved most fitting as Jess was a frequent member of our school Tag Rugby club.

“The tournament ran in four group stages across four pitches, with five teams in each group - the winner of each group then progressed to the semi-final and then final.

Chester and District Standard: 160 girls joined together to play rugby160 girls joined together to play rugby (Image: West Kirby Grammar School)

“Overall, we had more than 160 girls in attendance and all of them got stuck in despite the chilly morning conditions showing the spirit that Jess most certainly had.”

Also in attendance was international player Eti Haungatau, current Sale Sharks and USA squad member, who spoke to the girls and gave them encouragement throughout the tournament.

Jessica’s parents also came to show their support for the event.

At the end of the day, all schools went away with JB Memorial Event certificates and trophies were awarded to three students for 'Top try-scorer of the day', 'Coaches Player' and 'The JB Spirit Award'. The overall tournament winners were Christleton High School who beat WKGS one in the final 4-3.

Chester and District Standard: saw 14 schools from Wirral, Chester and Wigan took partsaw 14 schools from Wirral, Chester and Wigan took part (Image: West Kirby Grammar School)

Miss Hingham added: “Caldy RFU were fantastic hosts on the day, allowing us to run a tuck shop and hot drinks station inside the clubhouse, and allowing use of the outside marquee so all the girls could keep warm throughout the day.

“Staff were there to support with the set up and clearing of the equipment which helped the event run smoothly, and lots of girls went away with leaflets for joining the rugby club. 

“Overall, the day was a huge success and truly allowed us to celebrate Jess' life with something she loved and having nearly 200 people at the club on this day was an overwhelming response, showing how sport can bring people together.”