Edited newspaper articles from 1990.
The family of a Dewsbury actress were yesterday being comforted following the horrific
motorway crash in which she died. The accident - on the M62 - also claimed the lives of
her two young friends and their baby. Miss Vicki O'Keefe, 21, was
returning from an Easter outing with friends, Sharon Hickling, 19 and Paul Hollis, 20, of
Liversedge, and their 11-month-old baby daughter, Jade, when the accident occurred. All
four were dead on arrival at hospital. Vicki's 22-year-old boyfriend, who was driving the car,
was seriously injured and suffered serious internal and facial injuries.
The X-registered Ford Escort in which they were
travelling went out of control on a contra-flow system on the M62 near Bold, near St.
Helens, Lancashire. Police said the car crossed into the west-bound lane into the path of
a lorry. At the time the road surface was wet from recent rain.
The driver of the lorry Mr Ian Evans was taken to hospital suffering from shock and later
sent home. Vicki, who lived with her parents and brother, 24,
celebrated her 21st birthday three weeks ago. She was a former pupil of St.
Joseph's RC School and St. John Fisher RC High School, Dewsbury. Vicki, who had a
promising career in acting, joined Dewsbury Arts Group when she was 11. She acted in
television films and series but always retained her links with the Arts Group. Her
modesty was renowned among her many friends and she did not let her success go to her
Vicki met her boyfriend when she was 16. One of her friends said they were always together and were
very much in love. His parents are at his bedside in Whiston Hospital. Yesterday, a
hospital spokewoman said his condition was 'poorly but stable'. The O'Keefe family are
keeping in contact with his parents at the hospital. The cause of the crash is being
investigated by Merseyside Police who are appealing for witnesses. Anyone with any
information can contact the police on 051 7096010 exe
5852 or 951 775852.
Vicki's funeral will take place at St. Joseph's RC Church, Naylor Street, Batley Carr,
at 1pm on Tuesday.
Hundreds say goodbye to Vicki.
Over 500 mourners gathered together on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Vicki
O'Keefe, a young Dewsbury actress who was killed in a motorway accident last week. An
extra car had to be used to carry the hundreds of wreaths and bouquets from family and
friends. The small catholic church of St. Joseph in Batley Carr, which Vicki attended as
a child, was packed to capacity. Over a hundred mourners had to stand three abreast in
the aisle for the hour-long service. As Vicki's coffin was carried into church, mourners,
including stars from television and amateur actors, sang 'All Things Bright and
Beautiful' - a hymn the family chose because they felt it described her perfectly.
During the service, people heard how Vicki's family
were now rebuilding their lives with the support of family and friends. Fr
Roger Clarke a friend of the family, who concelebrated the requiem Mass with Fr Michael
Ingwell, read a message of thanks from Mr and Mrs O'Keefe, to the many hundreds of people
who had comforted and prayed for them. He said they had been amazed to discover that
Vicki, who was 21 four weeks ago, had amassed so many friends in her short life. Mr and
Mrs O'Keefe said they had shared Vicki's life, and now her spirit, with everyone who knew
her and who had met her.
Among the mourners were actors and actresses, school teachers from her former schools St.
Joseph's Primary School and St. John Fisher RC High School, school friends, colleagues,
and friends from Dewsbury College and Dewsbury Arts Group. In a moving sermon, Fr Ingwell
spoke about the talented young actress who enjoyed living and whose future promised so
much. He said she had touched the lives of hundreds of people during her short time on
earth. Mourners prayed for Vicki's boyfriend, who is
recovering at Whiston Hospital, near Liverpool, was the only survivor in the car which
collided with a lorry on a contra-flow system.
Prayers were also said for Paul Hollis, Sharon Hickling and their baby Jade who were
killed with Vicki in the M62 accident. The young family were cremated at Dewsbury Moor
Crematorium on Tuesday. After the service in St. Joseph's police cars escorted the
cortege to Hanging Heaton Parish churchyard where Vicki was buried. Vicki, described by
all who knew her as a modest girl, started her acting career aged 11 when she joined
dewsbury Arts Group. She appeared in a number of television programs and films including
Nanny, when she played alongside Wendy Craig and Emmerdale when she played Nick Bate's
The budding career of a talented and lively young actress.
Family and friends of Vicki O'Keefe, who was killed in a motorway accident on Tuesday,
talked about the girl who never let success in acting go to her head. They, along with
her friends and fellow actors at Dewsbury Arts Group, said she was very modest. Vicki's
acting career started when she joined the Arts Group at the age of 11. She was encouraged
and helped by her family. Her grandmother, who has appeared in Coronation Street
and Brookside, was able to give Vicki an
insight into television acting. Vicki's first television role was in the BBC series Nanny
when she played alongside Wendy Craig as an evacuee. From then on her acting career went
from success to success.
She played the leading role in Letty - a children's television programme in which she
portrayed a youngster in a wheelchair. Vicki appeared in Emmerdale as Nick Bates' first
girlfriend. She also had a hand in the production side of Yorkshire Television's
Hollywood Sports as well as acting in it. In the Thames Television production of the
Luddites, Vicki played the daughter of a Luddite executed in the 19th century revolution.
She also played a youngster in Threads - a film about the aftermath of a nuclear
explosion. "Even though Vicki was a success she was very modest about her acting career,'
said a friend. "She was a very lively girl who will be missed by everyone who knew her."
Despite her success Vicki retained her links with Dewsbury Arts Group where she was a
prominent member. Her last role was as Sybil Burlington in Daisy Pulls It Off in which
she delighted the audience with her acting.
She played Beauty in Beauty and the Beast in November and in October she took the part of
Ann Deever in All My Sons. Dewsbury Arts Group Chairman Mr David Wood said Vicki was a
very capable actor who could adapt to a variety of roles and who was always willing to
learn. "Vicki ranks as one of the most capable members the group has ever had," he said.
"She had a great talent to adapt her acting to the different roles she was cast in. She
was a very capable actress and even though she was determined to succeed in acting she
was a very modest person."
At the time of editing this page I cannot confirm that Victoria appeared in Emmerdale. Peter Bebbington and another source
suggest that it was a possible future role for Victoria. I will update if the information becomes available. Edit: Thank you to Nick for telling me that Victoria played Sally Newman in Emmerdale Farm (as it was known back then).