Friends of a Northumberland teenager who was killed in a car crash have paid touching tributes to “everyone’s friend.”
Rachel Blaylock, 18, who lived near Ponteland, died when the red Mini she was driving left the road and hit a tree near her home in the early hours of Sunday.
Three other teenagers in the car were taken to hospital, one with serious but not life threatening injuries.
Following the tragedy, two of Rachel’s closest friends have told The Journal of their sense of loss.
Josh Graham, 18, a student at an agricultural college in Yorkshire, knew Rachel since the pair were at nursery school together.
He said: “Rachel was someone you could talk to about anything. She had no enemies and got on with everyone.
“She was a calm and peaceful person who never lost her temper, always put other people before herself and looked out for everybody.
“She was fun to be with. Rachel had a huge circle of friends and always made an effort to catch up with people she didn’t see often.
“Rachel’s parents, Peter and Lucy are welcoming and open hearted people who encouraged and enjoyed Rachel’s friends.
“I went right through school with her and have known her and her family most of my life. I will always remember her.
“She was everyone’s friend and will be really missed.”
Vicki Devlin, 18, first met Rachel through Girl’s Brigade and the pair became friends when starting Ponteland High School. They were in the same form class until year eleven.
“She was so funny and bubbly and such a nice person to be around,” Vicki said. “You could trust her so much.
“She just liked everything, coming round, general chatting, shopping, anything really being with a friend, she just loved it.
“I probably saw her more outside than inside (school). We met up all the time, we just spent a lot of time together.”
Rachel lived with her parents and sister Anna at the family farm at Milbourne, with her gran living close by, and was the niece of Stroud MP Neil Carmichael.
She went to Coates Endowed Middle School before going to high school, where she was a high achiever at GCSE in 2012.
Rachel was awaiting her A-levels results and was hoping to study anthropology at Aberdeen University from next month.
She was said to have worked at a local pub or cafe.
Family and friends have told of Rachel’s love of animals, with her owning several including a miniature pony and a tortoise, and having had an “amazing” day at Edinburgh Zoo with friends in the last two weeks.
She also enjoyed playing tennis, running and going to the gym.
Rachel had only recently passed her driving test and is said to have just got the Mini. She was said to have been “excited” about getting the car and to have “loved” driving.
Rachel is said to have been travelling with friends Rachel Dodd, 18, and daughter of Ponteland councillor Richard, and Ian Scott and Steve Hall, both 19, on the A696 North of Ponteland when the crash happened at 4.10am.
Police, firefighters and paramedics attended but Rachel was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other three occupants of the car were taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, for treatment.
One of the men was said to have serious but not life-threatening injuries and was later said to be “critical, but stable”.
Another passenger suffered a broken leg and the other minor injuries.
Vicki told how she and a group of friends had visited Miss Dodd in hospital on Monday and how she was being released from hospital yesterday.
She also said friends of Rachel had gathered at Pont Park to remember her and release lanterns on Monday night before gathering at the Diamond pub, where they often socialised.
They are to meet again at the Highlander pub tonight.
The friends have also set up a Facebook page “In memory of Blay,” which 879 people have liked, while they and Rachel’s family have gathered and left floral tributes and pictures at the crash scene.
Vicki said: “Her friends and all of us are all together now. No-one is alone now. We have all stayed in a big group just to remember her.”