NSW

Pitt Town school mourns Bridget Wright, killed by falling branch

The traces of a 25-metre gum tree, from which a branch dropped killing schoolgirl Bridget Wright, were being removed from Pitt Town Public School by a chainsaw-wielding team of arborists.

On Saturday, parents and children in the Hawkesbury gathered at the school to watch as the branches and then the trunk were removed.

One suggested the tree should be replaced by a grass patch and plaque in memory of the eight-year-old.

The seven-metre branch fell from the tree on Friday lunchtime as children settled to eat their packed lunches after the 1pm school bell.

Two other children, Matilda Hurst, five, and her brother Thomas, seven, as well as teacher Warren Minton, were injured.

One parent, Gary, said: ''They'd have to take the tree away, you would have thought, for the mental health of the kids.

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''It looked pretty healthy. Everyone is wise after the event.''

At the Pitt Town cricket practice on Saturday there was a minute's silence in memory of Bridget. Closer to the school, residents attended the Pitt Town Anglican Church.

The Reverend Greg Peisley said it was meant to be just a prayer meeting ''but the word spread and it turned into a memorial service with more than 130 people''.

The church was packed, he said. ''Bridget's mother and sister were there and the church is doing what it can to support the community.''

School friends of the popular year 4 pupil brought flowers on Saturday, along with their messages of affection for Bridget.

One envelope attached to a bunch of yellow sunflowers bore a small drawing of a girl with pigtails and a small halo over her head.

They saw things they shouldn't have seen as kids.

Another with a picture of a butterfly and a heart said: ''Dear Bridget, you were always there to cheer me up when i was sad. I am going to miss you, love Jacob.''

Standing next to her mother, Isabella Garemyn said children were sitting under the tree eating their lunch when the tragedy happened.

''It was starting to crack and then it just came down,'' the eight-year-old said.

''Bridget was sitting under there eating. My teacher was yelling to people to get Mr Cooper, the acting principal.''

Her twin sister, Gemma, said her schoolbag was in the school and she wouldn't be able to do homework. Their mother, Julia, said: ''They all saw things they shouldn't have seen as kids.''

The tragedy came early in the school term. A sign on the fence still reads: ''Meet the teachers 19th Feb.''

Bridget's parents, Alaina and James, who have another daughter, Abigail, said they would make a statement on Monday but released a picture of Bridget to The Sun-Herald.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead said Matilda Hurst was in a stable condition and that her brother Thomas was discharged on Friday night.

Tracy Mavis, the sister of teacher Warren Minton, who sustained a gash to the head and broken wrist, said the father of two was expected to be discharged from hospital soon.

She said she thought Bridget was a student in his class.

''He hasn't been told yet that the little girl has died,'' she said. ''He is a dedicated teacher and he will be devastated when he is told.''

Correction: The original version of this story said the tree was 80 metres tall.

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