TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular young woman who died after a crash with a school coach on a country road near Wimborne.

Twenty-three-year-old Sophie Crew from Wareham died after her silver Mini Cooper was in collision with the single-decker coach on the B3078 near Horton, which was carrying 45 Queen Elizabeth's School pupils on Tuesday morning.

Sophie, a former Parkstone Grammar School pupil, was rushed to Poole General Hospital in a critical condition but sadly passed away as a result of her injuries.

An inquest into her death has been opened today.

Twenty-six pupils on board the coach suffered minor injuries with nine taken to hospital for treatment.

Devastated friends, colleagues and loved ones have paid tribute to Sophie, with a number of floral tributes also laid at the crash site.

David Hallsworth, deputy head at Parkstone Grammar School, said: “She was an incredible person. Our thoughts and condolences and sympathies are with Sophie's family and friends who are trying to come to terms with their tragic loss.

“No words can really help ease the loss but speaking to staff who knew Sophie they tell what a wonderful, happy and hardworking student she was.

“She was a very, very high achiever and was very, very successful at university, passing with flying colours.

“It is just such a tragic loss especially for someone in the prime of her life with so much to look forward to.”

Sophie, a graduate of Cardiff University, worked at Wessex Water.

Colleague Audrey Whyte said: “Sophie, you were far too young and beautiful to have been taken so tragically. My thoughts go out to your family and friends.

She added: “It's so sad. I only heard about the accident a short while ago.

“Although I didn't know her very well, she was a lovely, beautiful girl with her whole life in front of her.”

People also paid tribute to Sophie on social networking sites.

Tanya Blandford tweeted: “Rest in Peace Sophie Crew. May you continue to shine brightly in the sky angel.”

And Abby Woodhouse also posted: “RIP Sophie Crew, my thoughts are with you and your family.”

Andy Puttock, head of Queen Elizabeth's School, said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this lady at this tragic time.

“Clearly the school is continuing to support our students and their families who are coping with this sad news.”

Police renewed their appeal for witnesses and drivers of any vehicles in the area at the time of the incident to come forward as soon as possible.

They are asked to contact 101, quoting incident number 11:60.

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