Farewell to tragic Michelle

Family and friends at the funeral of crash victim Michelle Swinton
Family and friends at the funeral of crash victim Michelle Swinton

SCORES of mourners packed into a church to say an emotional farewell to a loving mum who lost her life in a tragic car smash.

Around 200 people gathered at Blackhall Methodist Church for the funeral of 22-year-old Michelle Swinton.

Michelle Swinton with her son Jack

Michelle Swinton with her son Jack

The former Hesleden and Wellfield schools’ pupil was a passenger in a Seat Ibiza driven by boyfriend Jamie Hall, 23, which flipped over and crashed through a fence before hitting a tree beside the A1086 Coast Road in Blackhall Rocks on Saturday, February 5.

Michelle and soldier Jamie, a lance bombardier with the 4th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, based in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and both of Blackhall, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Yesterday, the congregation at the church – where Michelle was christened – heard how she was a “devoted mum” to four-year-old son Jack.

A lilac coffin, adorned with pink and cream carnations, along with a floral ‘Mum’ tribute, was led into the church.

Michelle’s friend, Sarah Smithson, clutching a single pink rose, gave a reading and described Michelle as “an inspiration”.

She added: “The day she told me she was pregnant was the happiest I’ve seen her.

“I know she will live on through Jack.

“I feel like half a person, but I know she is looking down protecting every one of us.”

Michelle’s friends, Gayle Dunn and Katie Lewens, read out poems in tribute.

One said: “I miss your laugh, the way you smiled, you were crazy, a real wild child.”

Deacon Jenny Heath, who led the service, said: “Michelle was a loving and devoted mum to Jack.

“She referred to him as her little man. “She always wanted the best for him.”

The deacon said Michelle’s life had been “cut short suddenly and tragically at too young an age” and acknowledged the “grief, shock, pain, emptiness, anger and despair” caused by the sudden loss for her family, including parents John and Christine, and her younger siblings, Andrew, Hannah, Laura and Louise.

The procession was told about how Michelle, who worked at Garlands call centre in Hartlepool before finding work at Albany Assistance, was “very much a girl’s girl”.

Mrs Heath said “free spirit” Michelle loved the latest fashions and make-up and added: “She fell down rocks at Blackhall beach and her only concern was for her hair and make-up rather than any injury she may have sustained.”

Some of Michelle’s favourites songs, including Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke, In The Arms Of The Angel by Sarah McLaughlin and Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy were played during the touching service, amid sobs from the congregation.

Michelle’s coffin was led out of the church to the organ strains of Unforgettable by Nat King Cole.

l MICHELLE’S friends have launched a fundraising campaign to raise cash for young Jack, as previously reported by the Mail.

A charity night will take place this Saturday, from 6pm, at the Peterlee Lodge Hotel.

Tickets are £5 and will include music, buffet, raffle and tombola.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact Gayle Dunn on (0191) 5864905, (07941) 293817 or email gayle.dunn@hotmail.co.uk