- Title: BELGIUM: Leuven town hall opens memorial to victims of Swiss bus crash
- Date: 19th March 2012
- Summary: PHOTOS AT MEMORIAL
- Reuters ID: LVA5ALXVZFOMCY7GHU8U849ZUS7T
- Location: Belgium, Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Duration: 00:00:06
- Topics: Disasters,Transport
- Story Text: Belgians grieved at city of Leuven after it opened a public memorial for the victims of the Swiss bus crash on Sunday (March 18).
The memorial, housed at the city hall, had framed pictures of the seven children and two adults from the nearby school of Heverlee who were killed after their bus crashed against a wall whilst returning from a ski trip.
The hall was adorned by white flowers and trees on one side whilst five books of condolences were laid out on the side for the public to be able to pay their respects.
Gilbert and Lia Pues, owners of the local funeral parlour, designed the memorial after taking care of the bodies.
They said it had been a difficult job, but they had wanted to provide an alternative place for people to grieve the day of the funeral.
"Yes it is very good. They all come in intimacy, each family separately and so they can say goodbye, to their, to them. Because when you see your child leaving and you can't see them back it is not easy to accept. If you never see them again," said Lia after signing one of the condolence books.
Dozens of people queued as the memorial opened for the public at 2 p.m. (1300 GMT) and most were visibly shaken after the visit.
Sylvie, who lives in Brussels said she felt it was important to make the trip and give her condolence along with her young daughter.
"It's soo awful, I have children on this age. It's terrible," she said as she came out of the memorial.
Earlier on Sunday, Belgians prayed for the 28 victims of the crash on at churches around the country.
At the school in Heverlee, the grief stricken community continued to pay their respects laying candles and flowers outside the school.
A sea of flowers, letters, teddies and candles covered the floor outside of the school On Friday (March 16) Belgian military aircraft brought home the bodies of 22 children, most of them between 11 and 12 and six adults as the country observed a national day of mourning marked by a minute silence.
Swiss police continued to investigate how the coach, carrying 52 passengers, crashed into a tunnel wall on Tuesday night.
Lommel, home to 17 of those killed, plans a memorial ceremony on Wednesday (March 21), to be attended by members of the Belgian and Dutch royal families.
Heverlee also planned a joint funeral on Thursday for all child victims from the St Lambertus school.
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