Open verdict on death of teacher

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AN INQUEST has delivered an open verdict on the death of a popular drama teacher from Stowmarket.

Mother-of-one Ruth Barber, 31, was rushed to West Suffolk Hospital on March 11 after she collapsed at her home in Dotterel Way.

She died in hospital three days later.

Ms Barber was head of drama at Stowmarket High School where she had taught for two years after moving from Chantry School in Ipswich.

At the time of her death Ms Barber’s family said she was an ‘inspiration throughout her life’.

A statement from the 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.”

Students and teachers at Stowmarket High School took part in one minute of applause as a mark of respect for the much-loved teacher the day after her death.

At the time, 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.

“Her contributions to extra school activities, particularly school shows, were outstanding and had a lasting effect on many of the students.

“Her contribution to ‘Teacher Come Dancing’ was a night to remember.”

On April 1 friends, family, colleagues and pupils dressed in bright and colourful clothes for a funeral service at Stowmarket Parish Church.

Ms Barber’s family asked that people make donations to the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket rather than send flowers.

A coroner delivered an open verdict on Ms Barber’s death at an inquest at the Active Business Centre, in Bury St Edmunds, on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman from the coroner’s office said the family were happy to conclude the open verdict.