‘It was a very touching service’ – outpouring of love at teacher’s funeral
PUBLISHED: 17:29 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 01 November 2018
More than a dozen members of staff and ex-students were among those gathered to remember a popular teacher who died weeks after becoming a mum.
Charlotte Shields-Bayliss, a textiles teacher at Stowmarket High, died aged just 29 from peripartum cardiomyopathy – a rare type of heart failure that occurs during pregnancy or immediately after delivery of the baby.
Headteacher Dave Lee-Allan estimated between 150 and 200 people attended her funeral at St Edmund Chapel, Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday afternoon – including 14 members of staff and several of her former A Level students who came back from university to say their goodbyes.
Mr Lee-Allan described the funeral as “a very touching service”, where people were asked not to wear black and instead dress colourfully in celebration of Mrs Shields-Bayliss’ life.
“It was really, really busy,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that all the staff that wanted to go could go, and they did.”
He added that the school presented a book of condolences to the family, while staff also offered a gesture of goodwill.
“When Lottie was ill the staff had raised some money to help the family, and that was donated,” he said. “They can decide what they want to do with that money.”
On Friday, the student council at Stowmarket High will discuss what might be done to pay tribute to the popular teacher.
Mr Lee-Allan said ideas currently ranged from a special award in her name to a variety of fundraising projects.
The Stowmarket High head added that the children had responded “beautifully” to the circumstances surrounding Mrs Shields-Bayliss’ death – continuing with their studies as normal despite 14 teachers being away from school for her funeral.
“I got back to school and it was a very calm and quiet place,” he said. “There is a degree of appreciation of what this means.”
Mrs Shields-Bayliss gave birth to Delilah – who is healthy – at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on September 19.
However, her condition became increasingly serious and she was transferred to Papworth Hospital near Cambridge where she died on Wednesday, October 10.
In a tribute issued after her death, Mr Lee-Allan said on behalf of Stowmarket High: “She had built an enviable reputation as an extremely hardworking, skilled, caring and dedicated textiles teacher.”