Flowers and tributes have been laid outside Park Community School in Barnstaple following the tragic death of popular graphics teacher Sara Bluett.
Miss Bluett, 46, who was second in charge of the Design & Technology department at the school, died in a crash on the A39 near Kilkhampton on Friday morning. She was on her way to work when the collision occurred.
Thousands of messages have been posted on Facebook and Twitter paying tribute to the “popular” and “kind” teacher. A RIP Miss Bluett Facbeook page has also been set up in her honour, and has already received over 3,000 likes.
David Atton, Park Community School headteacher, said: “Sara joined the school in September 2000 and for the last 13 years we have known and respected a dedicated teacher and tutor, a friendly helpful colleague, a person who will be very sadly missed by the many who knew her.
“She was a lovely lady and it is very, very sad. Our thoughts at this time are with her family and we all pay our deepest respect to them at this very difficult and sad time. This is a shock for us all.”
In a letter to parents Mr Atton said: “Over this weekend I know that many of you will feel as I do. We have lost a dear friend and colleague, a teacher and tutor who touched many lives. Once this news has registered for each of us we shall decide carefully and sensitively how to pay our respects.”
Mike Canham, chairman of governors at Park Community School, said he had heard the sad news from headteacher David Atton this afternoon.
He paid tribute to the popular graphics teacher and said: “It is a terrible tragedy. She was a very cheerful person, she always had a smile on her face when you saw her in the corridor. She was very popular with pupils. I remember when we had meetings in her office being impressed with the quality of the pupils’ work on the wall.”
Miss Bluett, who is from Bude, was travelling in a Volkswagen Polo when it was in collision with a Ford Maverick. Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the scene of the crash, on the A39 approximately two miles out of Kilkhampton towards Bideford, at around 7.15am.
Paramedics were unable to save her and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Her next of kin have been informed but a formal identification has not yet taken place.
The van, which had gas bottles in the back and was towing a cattle pen trailer at the time of the collision, overturned onto its side as it crashed into a ditch during the collision.
The driver, a man from Northam and in his early forties, was initially trapped but was released by fire crews and flown to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth by the Cornwall Air Ambulance. It is thought he has suffered serious but not life-threatening leg injuries. He is in a stable condition in hospital.
Three land ambulances, an air ambulance and a doctor attended the scene as well as two fire crews from Bude and one from Launceston.
Sara was a former pupil of Budehaven School. She graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a Master of Arts degree in design and technology education.
Before joining the design and technology department at The Park Community School, Barnstaple she worked in London for 10 years following the completion of a teaching degree at Middlesex University in 1990. She also spent a year teaching in Australia.
It’s believed she once taught Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates and today several pupils were tweeting the radio presenter to tell him the tragic news.
In 2005 Sara spent a half-term week exchanging experiences with teachers in Uganda with the charity Education Action. She joined eight other teachers from across the UK visiting schools and projects in Bugiri, one of the poorest districts in Uganda. They spent time in the classroom, observing lessons and also witnessed family learning in the home. And they got the chance to spend a night with a family in a traditional village setting to get a real taste of rural life in Uganda
Sara raised more than £6,000 through fund-raising events in her home town of Bude with events including a Bob Marley Night, a 60s-70s night and a knockout skittles tournament. She also involved pupils at the school in Barnstaple by encouraging them to do sponsored events like silences and walks.
This afternoon many pupils and former pupils took to Twitter to pay tribute to Miss Bluett.
@emmafcoles wrote: “R.I.P Mrs Bluett, cannot believe this has happened! You didn't deserve your life to be taken away from you :(((“
@LmaoJamie posted: “RIP Mrs Bluett, honestly the best graphics teacher I could have ever had :(“
@tiegancorie wrote: “RIP to my amazing graphics teacher ever Miss Bluett; never forgotten❤”
And @JustYour_Luck posted: “oh my god i cant believe i just heard that ! most shocking news ever ! rip miss bluet !! <3<3”
Others took to Facebook to pay tribute to the popular teacher.
Sophie Hayter wrote: “R.I.P mrs bluett the whole of park school will miss you, we all love you so much x”
Josh Smith wrote: “R.I.P Ms bluett always happens to the nicest people.”
And Tom Lake wrote: “Rest easy Miss Bluett. I'm going to miss the hugs and jokes first thing in the morning. If i could be half as popular as you I'd be happy. X”
A full and thorough investigation into how the crash happened will now be conducted by the serious collisions investigation team.
Scroll through the box below to read the tributes to Miss Bluet posted on Twitter and Facebook: