'My goodness, that hit home' - rainbow arcs over colourful tribute to teacher
PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 November 2019
Stowmarket High School
A Suffolk school has paid colourful tribute to a popular teacher who died shortly after giving birth to her first child.
Students and staff at Stowmarket High School students held a colour run in memory of Charlotte Shields-Bayliss one year on from her tragic death at the age of just 29.
The textiles teacher, known as Lottie, fell victim to peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare type of heart failure that occurs during pregnancy or immediately after delivery of the baby.
A year on, and the school wanted Lottie's memory to live on and celebrate her life by reflecting her fun and colourful personality in a jubilant colour run.
On the final afternoon of half term more than 550 students and teachers ran a lap of the school field passing through colour stations where powder paint was hurled at them, creating an explosion of colour.
There were also stalls, competitions, games and activities for others to participate in.
Poignantly, a sudden downpour of rain saw a rainbow arc over the proceedings.
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Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan said: "Just like when we run our sponsored walk our students are always extraordinary, and so they were again.
"Even when the weather turned the students were fantastic and I was so proud to see them having so much fun in aid of such a good cause.
"The rainbow was stunning and one of Lottie Shields-Bayliss' closest colleagues whispered to me 'Lottie's here'. My goodness, that hit home."
The colour run raised more than £1,500 towards Cardiomyopathy UK, and the school said it welcomed any further donations.
The charity works to raise awareness of the condition and arrange support for those affected by it.
It is a rare type of heart muscle disease which occurs during the last part of, or in the first few months after, pregnancy.
The heart becomes enlarged and weakened and less able to pump blood than normal.
Figures vary, but it is thought to affect around 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 10,000 women, or 1 in every 2,000 women who give birth.
Mrs Shields-Bayliss gave birth to Delilah - who is healthy - at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds in September 2018 but succumbed to the condition in Papworth Hospital the following month.