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Family of Millie Greenway pay tribute after fatal Egerton car crash near Ashford

The heartbroken parents of a teenage girl who died in a car crash say she was living a "perfect life".

Millie Greenway, 17, was a passenger in a Suzuki Swift travelling towards Egerton, near Ashford, when it left the road and hit a tree at about 8.20pm on Saturday.

VIDEO: The Greenway family's compilation video in memory of Millie

There were five other people in the silver car and three others – a 19-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl – remain in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Tragically, Millie, who worked as an apprentice vehicle paint sprayer, died on the way to hospital.

Following her death, her parents Andy and Wendy and sister Sophie, from Shadoxhurst, have now shared their memories.

"She was in such a perfect moment in her life," Andy said.

"She was so happy that day, so full of everything.

Millie, with mum Wendy and sister Sophie. Picture: Greenway family
Millie, with mum Wendy and sister Sophie. Picture: Greenway family

"She had her dream job, her birthday was coming up, her driving test was due, she had her car and her boyfriend."

Mum Wendy describes Millie, who was a former North School pupil, as her "go-to person" who was her "absolute rock".

"She was very comfortable around adults and had a very adult outlook," Wendy said.

"When she was younger she was known as an eco-warrior.

"She was colourful, very vivacious, very feisty. She was a little firecracker – she wasn't shy and would just provide entertainment to everyone.

Tributes left at the scene of the crash in Mundy Bois Road, Egerton. Picture: UKNiP
Tributes left at the scene of the crash in Mundy Bois Road, Egerton. Picture: UKNiP

"She was very loving, loyal and caring.

"We foster and she had a massive role in that. She helped all the children feel like a part of the family."

Andy said Millie – who was due to turn 18 on July 30 – "never left the house without different colour hair".

"Even on Saturday her mum had dyed her hair blue and red," he said.

"All her friends would have brown or blonde hair, but she had to have something different about her."

Millie had started her apprenticeship last year. Picture: Greenway family/Summers
Millie had started her apprenticeship last year. Picture: Greenway family/Summers

Last September, Millie was over the moon when she was accepted for an apprenticeship through the Volkswagen Group to spray paint cars at Summers Motors, an accident repair centre in Biddenden.

She had attended Willesborough Infants and Juniors before moving to the North, where she enjoyed several school skiing trips.

Prior to getting her full-time job at Summers, she had also briefly attended Canterbury and Ashford colleges.

Millie had been looking forward to a family party to mark her milestone birthday which had been organised a year in advance.

She had even posted about the event on Facebook on Saturday morning – just hours before she died.

The scene of the crash in Egerton. Picture: UKNiP
The scene of the crash in Egerton. Picture: UKNiP

Paying tribute, sister Sophie, 23, said: "She’ll be forever remembered for her beautiful smile, her amazing energy, and her terrifying temper.

"I wish I had more to say but for now all I can say is I love you, I miss you, and I hope you’re looking down on me sending me the courage I need to survive without you."

Andy says spraying cars was "all Millie wanted to do" from the age of 15.

He said: "She'd been applying for a while, maybe for 20 or 30 jobs, and eventually was accepted at Summers.

"It was her dream job – she was so happy when she got it and they treated her so well.

Millie with her family. Picture: Greenway family
Millie with her family. Picture: Greenway family

"She worked all through the coronavirus but eventually they ran out of work, and she was furloughed for three weeks.

"That was beautiful for us because we had her home.

"She went in last Wednesday and was nervous in case her job was at risk.

"But the manager had said to her 'you're everything we've ever wanted in an apprentice'.

"He said he never wanted to lose her.

Police are appealing for information. Picture: UKNiP
Police are appealing for information. Picture: UKNiP

"She was so well thought of, she made everyone laugh.

"We had bought her a car, as she was due to take her test, and she had already spray painted it a midnight blue colour.

"And now she'll never get the chance to drive it."

Millie was enjoying her apprenticeship in Biddenden. Picture: Greenway family/Summers
Millie was enjoying her apprenticeship in Biddenden. Picture: Greenway family/Summers

Andy says the team at Summers all decided to cycle to work earlier this year, meaning Millie had a 10-mile trip there and back.

He remembers: "She got up at 5.30am every day to make sure she had time. I went with her the first couple of weeks.

"We would stop off at Tony's burger van in the mornings and she would have an egg roll as she's vegetarian.

"She would talk to everyone and Tony became a friend.

"It was miles away but she did it.

"On her way home she would take her time, stop off at the woods and look at the wildlife. She loved being outside."

The Suzuki Swift left the road and hit a tree on Saturday. Picture: UKNiP
The Suzuki Swift left the road and hit a tree on Saturday. Picture: UKNiP

Martyn Summers, director of Summers, said: "We first met Millie at an interview for a vacant apprentice position within our paint department.

"It was clear from the start that she was a very enthusiastic young girl and knew what career path she wanted to follow.

"We agreed to take her on for a trial and from the start she showed her true colours, putting 100% into everything she did and you could see that she had energy, drive, self-belief, confidence and a great personality.

"She was such a character giving and taking banter from the other team members in the workshop.

"We signed her up to Volkswagen Group apprenticeship scheme which she was delighted about.

"She bonded with Bert, her mentor, and they had a great relationship and in no time at all her confidence had grown even more.

"She truly was a delightful girl, a pleasure to be around and would without doubt risen the be the very best in her field.

"She will be truly missed by all of the team here at Summers Accident Repair Centre."

Millie also enjoyed long walks with the family dog, white German Shepherd Teddy, and playing with hamster Alvin, who she would let explore in his ball.

Andy, a director of a construction company, said: "She loved her family.

"She was very close to my parents, her grandparents.

"She had a lovely relationship with Sophie, who will now grow up without her."

Millie with mum Wendy, dad Andy and sister Sophie. Picture: Greenway family
Millie with mum Wendy, dad Andy and sister Sophie. Picture: Greenway family

The Greenways are planning a special event in the coming weeks to celebrate Millie's life, and hope as many people as possible can attend.

They are still working out the final details, and hope to release eco-friendly balloons.

The family has also set up a fundraiser in Millie's memory, with proceeds going to Dandelion Time, a charity which supports vulnerable children and families to achieve lasting, positive change.

So far, £3,465 of the £5,000 target has been raised.

Millie Greenway
Millie Greenway

On Saturday, the day she died, Millie had a two-hour driving lesson in the morning, and then in the afternoon spent time at her boyfriend Nick's house, with his sister.

The girls had watched Frozen 2 together and plaited each others' hair.

Later that night the couple joined friends at The Rose & Crown, near Pluckley.

It was after they left the pub the crash happened on Mundy Bois Road in Egerton, close to the junction with Kingsland Lane.

Millie worked at Summers Motors, which she described as her dream job. Picture: Greenway family/Summers
Millie worked at Summers Motors, which she described as her dream job. Picture: Greenway family/Summers
Millie had spray painted her car a midnight blue and was due to take her test. Picture: Greenway family/Summers
Millie had spray painted her car a midnight blue and was due to take her test. Picture: Greenway family/Summers

Andy, 52, said: "We spoke to the landlord yesterday. I asked him if he remembers Millie.

"He said to me 'how could I forget her. She was beautiful and had lovely hair and was so polite'.

"He said she lit up the room.

"When they left the pub the landlord had thanked them for coming, and he said Millie turned around and thanked him.

"He told me he will never forget her."

Millie loved changing her hair to different colours. Picture: Greenway family
Millie loved changing her hair to different colours. Picture: Greenway family

Millie's parents also hope people might think twice about who they get in a car with, after the group of six friends all got into the same vehicle.

Andy said: "If she had asked me to come and pick her and one of the others up, I would have.

"But they were in the moment and they did it."

Millie's boyfriend Nick is one of the people who remain in hospital.

Andy said: "He was a passenger too and we wish him and his family all the best."

"Part of our investigation will be to establish whether or not the police were actively pursuing the vehicle"

Two teenagers, a 19-year-old man from Ashford and a 17-year-old girl from Maidstone, both of whom had previously been discharged from hospital, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving following the crash.

Both have since been released pending further investigation.

Kent Police has made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) due to a police vehicle being in close proximity at the time of the crash.

Police have launched an investigation following the fatal crash. Picture: UKNiP
Police have launched an investigation following the fatal crash. Picture: UKNiP

An IOPC spokesman said: “We have begun an independent investigation into the actions of the police prior to a road traffic incident in Kent in which, sadly, a young woman has died.

“We were notified by Kent Police that at about 8.20pm on Saturday, July 4 in Mundy Bois Road, Egerton, near Pluckley, police on patrol in a marked vehicle saw a vehicle containing six people that then headed off at speed.

"The police vehicle turned around to follow the vehicle and found it had crashed.

"Officers called the ambulance service and gave medical assistance at the scene.

The crash happened in Mundy Bois Road in Egerton. Picture: UKNiP
The crash happened in Mundy Bois Road in Egerton. Picture: UKNiP

“Our investigators attended the scene of the collision and attended the post-incident procedures.

"Part of our investigation will be to establish whether or not the police were actively pursuing the vehicle."

The police appeal remains open and anyone with information should call the appeal line on 01622 798538 quoting reference DB/LB/60/20 or email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk

To donate to the fundraisier, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-greenway

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