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Friday, 31 October 2014

Community pays tribute to mum, 41

TRIBUTES have poured in for an RAF officer killed in a horror smash on the A590.

Michelle Jurd’s grieving husband of 13 years described his wife as an inspiring person who was “a wonderful and committed mother”.

The 41-year-old from Eden Mount Road, Grange, died following a collision with an HGV on the A590 at Gilpin Bridge, Levens, on Wednesday evening.

Her children Matilda, four and Elsa, two, were in the Citroen car with her.

The older child was uninjured but the younger received cuts and bruises and is recovering at home with her family.

Despite only living in Grange since last year, Mrs Jurd was loved and respected by locals.

Her 40-year-old husband Neil Jurd spoke movingly about his wife.

He said: “Michelle was a wonderful and committed mother, who made family life an adventure.

“Family weekends were spent hill walking, canoeing or cycling and Michelle was always the inspiration behind these adventures.

“Immensely kind, generous, caring and thoughtful, Michelle was a talented musician, a capable artist, an incredible cook and a superb interior designer.

“She was an inspiring person to know, with a smile that could light up any room. She will be sorely missed by her many family and friends.”

The headteacher at her daughter Matilda’s school, Colin Milner, said everyone at Grange CE School was devastated.

He said they weren’t sure as yet if they would be holding a service until he spoke to Mr Jurd.

Mr Milner said: “We were all so shocked.

“She was a really lovely person with two lovely little girls.

“Our thoughts are with Neil, Matilda and Elsa and also her parents, who are still alive.

“When Matilda came to the school I saw the lovely qualities in Michelle and she was very supportive to me.

“She was a well-balanced and mature woman who will not only be a great loss to her family and us but society as a whole.

“We have sent the family a picture of the children in the reception class Matilda was in.

“Because they are only four they don’t really understand death. We explain to them that when someone dies they become a star in heaven so all the children have put stars next to their names on the back on the picture with the biggest star being next to Matilda’s name.

“We are all still in shock. She was an angel and now she is with the angels.”

Mrs Jurd, known as “Meesh” to her colleagues, had a distinguished career in the RAF which saw her flying fighting troops behind enemy lines.

She was born and brought up in Poulton-Le-Fylde and attended Hodgson High School.

Many years later in the midst of a highly successful RAF career, she was invited back to the school to deliver speech day prizes.

Bill Allison, assistant headteacher at her old school said he was very saddened by the news.

He said: “Michelle was at our school from 1980 to 1985 and she was very successful.

“We are very proud of all her achievements, so much so, she was invited back in 1999 to present prizes to the class of 1999 for their success.

“She was a wonderful role model for other students.”

After completing A-levels, she studied biology at Nottingham University from there gaining entry into the RAF College Cranwell where she trained to be an officer.

She became the first female officer to qualify as a navigator on Puma helicopters. She went on to have a successful career, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader.

Her operational service began in Belize in 1993, where she first met her husband, then a serving army officer.

She later saw active service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, and Iraq.

In Iraq her Commanding Officer was hugely impressed by her bravery when, in an intense sandstorm, she led an operation deep into enemy territory to recover soldiers likely to be overrun by the enemy. She also spent two years working as a navigation instructor for young officers learning to fly Puma helicopters.

Her patience and dedication ensured that a generation of young officers were well prepared for the wars in which they now find themselves fighting.

After the birth of her first daughter Michelle left the Royal Air Force and concentrated on bringing up a young family and the family moved to Grange last year.

Mrs Jurd’s car was in collision with the HGV just after 6pm on Wednesday and she had to be cut free from her car.

She later died in the Royal Preston Hospital.

The lorry driver, said to be a local man, was uninjured.

The westbound carriage was shut for three hours causing massive tailbacks.

South and East Cumbria coroner, Mr Ian Smith, has been informed and an inquest will be opened in due course.

Police are still appealing for witnesses to the crash to come forward.

If you saw what happened call police on 0845 330 0247.

Have your say

So very very sad. I met Michelle many times when she brought Matilda to here swimming lessons. I just hope that the family will try to keep the memories very happy ones as she was a very happy & encouraging lady.
Take care to all x

Posted by Merryll Hunter on 11 November 2009 at 20:42

So very very sad. I met Michelle many times when she brought Matilda to here swimming lessons. I just hope that the family will try to keep the memories very happy ones as she was a very happy & encouraging lady.
Take care to all x

Posted by Merryll Hunter on 11 November 2009 at 20:40

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