One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Tributes For Rail Death Teenagers
A headmaster paid tribute to two of his teenage pupils who died after being struck by a passenger train.
An 18-year-old schoolboy and a 15-year-old girl, believed to be Charleigh Disbrey, were killed on the 17th June 2013 after being hit by a First Capital Connect (FCC) service just outside Elstree and Borehamwood station in Hertfordshire.
They were from the Borehamwood area and both attended Hertswood Academy in Borehamwood, where the boy, who has yet to be named, was in Year 13 and Charleigh was in Year 10.
The academy's headteacher Peter Gillett said:
"At the start of the school day today we were contacted by British Transport Police to inform us of an incident that had occurred overnight involving two of our students.
"As a close community, obviously we are devastated by this tragedy. Both students were talented, hard working and well respected members of our academy.
"Our thoughts are with their families at this most difficult time. We are supporting our students and staff in coping with this terrible loss."
There were also tributes to the two pupils on social media sites.
The incident is not being treated as suspicious by British Transport Police (BTP).
In a statement on its website, Hertswood Academy said students and staff were informed of the incident this morning and the school was offering counselling "to those affected by this tragedy".
FCC said it was "a shocking incident", adding that "our hearts go out to those involved".
After emergency services were called last night, both teenagers were pronounced dead at the scene.
"We can confirm that at approximately 8.55pm on Monday two youths were hit by our St Albans to Sutton southbound service, 200 yards north of Elstree and Borehamwood station on the Thameslink route.
"There were no passengers on board the train but there were two drivers in the cab, both of whom are being offered our full care and support.
"The emergency services were on the scene investigating and, together with Network Rail, we have been doing everything we can to help."
FCC spokesman Roger Perkins said:
"This was a shocking incident and our hearts go out to those involved. We have been giving our full support to our employees who were at the scene and will do all we can to help the emergency services in their investigation."
All trains were brought to a halt for just over an hour and relief drivers were sent to move the train.
One of the southbound lines reopened at 10pm and one of the northbound lines at 10.19pm. Services continued on Monday night with delays of up to 90 minutes. There was a normal service today.
A BTP spokesman said:
"I can confirm that two teenagers who died... are believed to be 15-year-old Charleigh Disbrey and an 18-year-old man, whose name has not been released at the request of his family. Both were from the Borehamwood area."
Superintendent Phil Wilkinson, of BTP, said:
"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the two teenagers involved in last night's tragic and acutely sad incident.
"Although my officers are continuing their investigations, as part of our work to prepare a file for the local coroner, there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances and no one else is believed to have been involved.
"Colleagues from Hertfordshire Constabulary are also in a local secondary school to provide comfort and support to students and staff at this very difficult time."
Friends expressed their shock at the news on social media:
Writing with the Twitter handle @lav_gecaj27m, one girl said: "R.I.P Cj and Mert such wonderful and talented people, you will be truly missed xxxxx"
@katy_pett said: "R.I.P CJ and MERT!! So sad!! Thoughts are with family and friends!!"
Another girl, @CoverGirlLi, wrote "still can't believe it. Rip Mert and CJ", while @ShannReade said: "Situations like this just do not make sense, RIP Mert and CJ"
@EllaDefries wrote that both would be missed, adding: "I hope heaven looks after you".
"Instead of dwelling on what just happened, we should be happy we were blessed enough to have known either CJ or Mert, if you did know them," @MikeAmazinn wrote.
@_jessRx posted a picture of a girl thought to be Charleigh, and wished both of the teenagers to "rest in perfect peace".
A Facebook tribute page also saw friends and well-wishers express their grief and sympathy.
Robert Twiner, from Edgware in north west London, wrote: "R.I.P To my beautiful cousin Cj. We are thinking about you every second xxx"
"At peace and with the angels. God Bless " was the message left by Peter George Bailey.
Those wishing to lay flowers in the two teenagers' memory were told to do so at the Hertswood School's lower site.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has further information about the incident, is urged to contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 quoting B8/LNA of 18/06/2013.
Floral tributes and cards were left at the gates to Hertswood Academy.
By the end of the school day, around a dozen bunches of flowers rested against the fence.
One card read: "To Mert, thinking of you always, bless your soul and may you rest in peace friend."
Another read: "Sleep tight angel. RIP CJ and Mert, never forgotten."
Another read: "CJ and Mert. Two such amazing people that will never be forgotten. I'm going to miss you so much CJ. RIP. Love you."
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