Irreplaceable losses

PUBLISHED: 12:05 06 January 2006 | UPDATED: 13:21 28 May 2010

Ashley Hinkins

Ashley Hinkins

THE grieving families of three teenagers killed in a Christmas Day horror car crash described them as three cracking kids , who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Will Cherry, 18, his sister Stephanie, 17, and their best friend Ashley H

Will Cherry

THE grieving families of three teenagers killed in a Christmas Day horror car crash described them as "three cracking kids", who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Will Cherry, 18, his sister Stephanie, 17, and their best friend Ashley Hinkins, also 18, died after their car was involved in a head-on collision with a Volkswagen Passat.

Police are still investigating how the crash happened on the A47 at Tilney All Saints.

Ashley was driving a blue Renault 19 and Will and Stephanie were passengers, when the crash occurred at about 10.40pm.

Stephanie Cherry

Ashley and Will were pronounced dead at the scene. Stephanie was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, where she later died from her injuries.

All four occupants of the Passat, a man, a woman, a 15-year-old boy and a seven-month-old baby were taken to the same hospital. The driver was discharged, but his wife is still understood to be in hospital, but in a stable condition.

Will and Stephanie, known as Stephie, lived at the family home in Walpole Highway with their parents, Dave and Jill, and their brothers and sisters, twins David and Brittany, 14, Peter, five, and Simon, three.

Both attended Marshland High School, before moving on to the College of West Anglia in King's Lynn, where Will was a student mechanic and Stephanie a student hairdresser.

Will had only recently recovered from surgery in October to remove a benign tumour from behind his nose.

Stephanie had finished the first of two years as a trainee hairdresser and collected two awards at this summer's graduation ball.

Parents Dave and Jill Cherry said: "We do not feel like we have lost two kids. We feel like we have lost three.

"Will and Stephie loved Ashley like a brother and he felt the same way. They acted as each others' guardian, all looking out for each other.

"Stephie never went anywhere without her brother. She was a very petite girl and everyone used to compliment her about her looks."

The couple added: "Will was the bubbliest, happiest lad you would ever meet and was kind and considerate of other people's feelings, he was well-mannered and respectful towards others.

"We had had a lovely Christmas Day laughing together. We had Christmas dinner at 2pm. Ashley was there but he said he'd already eaten. They played on the PSP and were talking about cars. They then all went to North Wootton to pick up one of their friends and visited their friend's parents.

"They were good kids. They didn't drink and drive, smoke or take drugs. They were three innocent kids in the wrong place at the wrong time.

" We miss them and we are going to miss them for the rest of our lives. We feel a big, vast void without all of them and so do their brothers and sisters."

Ashley, 18, lived at home in King's Lynn with his mother Yanny Hinkins, his sister Sophie-Ann, 14, his brother Alex, who was 13 on Christmas Eve, his maternal grandparents and his uncle.

He had been working for a local building firm since August, when he completed a carpentry course at the College of West Anglia.

His parents said : "They used call Ashley 'Steady Eddy' because he'd do everything at his own pace.

"Ashley lived for his cars. Even as a boy he was always looking at cars. He liked to spend his money on his car - he had a stereo and the stripes. I think he had shares in Halfords.

"He and his friends hardly ever went to the pub, maybe some times at weekends, because they'd rather play computer games or go for a ride in the car.

"He had a lot of friends from college but it was always Will, Steph and Ashley together. If they weren't round their house, they were round here.

"We are going to miss him. We don't know what we are going to do without him. I don't think it's really sunk in yet.

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