Shock at tragic death of drama teacher

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Family, friends and students have left tributes to an ‘amazing, inspirational’ drama teacher who died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Mother of one Ruth Barber was head of drama at Stowmarket High School, where she had taught for two years.

Emergency services were called to her home in Dotterel Way, Stowmarket, at 3pm last Friday after receiving reports of an unconscious woman. Paramedics attempted CPR on the 31-year-old, who had suffered cardiac arrest, and she was taken to West Suffolk Hospital where she died four days later.

A statement from Ms Barber’s family, said: “As a family, we have been overwhelmed by the number of tributes to Ruth. We are amazed by how many Ruth touched. Ruth was cheerful and an inspiration throughout her life. She will be missed by so many.”

Stowmarket High School students took part in one minute of applause as a mark of respect to the teacher.

Headteacher Keith Penn said: “She was a talented and much-loved teacher who inspired and challenged her students and all those who worked alongside her with her energy, her enthusiasm and her passion for the work she does.”

It is thought Ms Barber, who went to Stowupland High School as a teenager, lived in Dotterel Way with her brother and her daughter.

A tribute page has been set up on Facebook and already has more than 1,300 members and hundreds of messages from students and friends.

Kirsty Smith posted: “Heaven gained another angel today, you’ll be missed so much but always in our hearts.”

Another post from Sarah Mayhew said: “Such an amazing, inspirational woman who’ll never be forgotten.”

The funeral will be held at Stowmarket Parish Church at 11am on April 1 and everyone is asked to wear ‘something bright and cheerful’. A private cremation will follow.

Ruth’s family have asked that donations are made to the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts.

An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned yesterday.