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Tributes flood in for 'popular, bright and clever' Holbrook Primary School teacher Laura Godfrey

PUBLISHED: 21:31 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 22:35 11 April 2017

Laura Godfrey

Laura Godfrey

Archant

A heartbroken Suffolk family have led tributes to an "inspirational" mum-of-two who lost her battle with cancer aged just 35.

From left to right: Steve Godfrey, Grace Godfrey, Laura Godfrey and Helena Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNFrom left to right: Steve Godfrey, Grace Godfrey, Laura Godfrey and Helena Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Popular Holbrook teacher Laura Godfrey, who taught years three to five at the village’s primary school, died of breast cancer on March 30.

Born in Ipswich, the 35-year-old grew up in Suffolk before going to university in London where she worked in human resources before becoming a teacher.

She brought her girls back to Holbrook a few years ago – but was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly afterwards.

Last night, her daughters Grace, 11 and Helena, six, husband Steve, 47, mum Teresa, 59 and sister Polly, 20 paid tribute to Laura, who they described as a “fantastic mother, sister, wife and friend”.

Children from Holbrook Primary School pay tribute to their teacher Laura Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNChildren from Holbrook Primary School pay tribute to their teacher Laura Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

They said: “She was so bright and clever, and very inspirational.

“Even after she was diagnosed she was determined not to let it get her down, she lived life to the full.

“She taught the girls to never give up and I think that will be her legacy – she was always busy, always wanted to go on an adventure and didn’t let anything stop her.

“The children at school adored her and she shared her passion for science with them.”

Laura's daughters Helena (left) and Grace, with their father and Laura's husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaura's daughters Helena (left) and Grace, with their father and Laura's husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Her husband Steve added: “We miss her so much, she was a fantastic mother, sister, wife and friend.”

Laura, who took on charity runs in London to raise cash for a number of organisations, was nominated for the Town 102 teacher of the year award by children in her class last year.

She spearheaded a number of science projects including one which helped pupils launch seeds into space for Major Tim Peake on the International Space Station.

Even towards the end of her life when she was being cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice, the 35-year-old was determined to join her daughters, sister and mother in completing this year’s Midnight Walk.

(L-R) Laura's daughter Grace Godfrey, sister Polly Fyfe, mum Teresa Fyfe, daughter Helena Godfrey and husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN(L-R) Laura's daughter Grace Godfrey, sister Polly Fyfe, mum Teresa Fyfe, daughter Helena Godfrey and husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Polly added: “She said even if she had to do it in a wheelchair she would do it.

“She was passionate like that, and wanted to help raise awareness of the illness.

“I think it just shows how she wouldn’t give up no matter what.”

Floral tributes to the popular teacher line the altar at Holbrook All Saints church, where her funeral is taking place next week.

Laura Godfrey, who lost her battle with cancer at the end of MarchLaura Godfrey, who lost her battle with cancer at the end of March

Children at Holbrook Primary School have left messages around the prayer bowl paying tribute to their “favourite” teacher, expressing how much they miss her. Many make reference to how much they enjoyed science lessons run by her.

Friends and neighbours have also left their tributes online.

Taslima Shahjahan, who worked with Laura at Cancer Research UK, said: “Laura was thoughtful, kind, funny, a great friend and a fabulous mother.

“Sending love & condolences to Laura’s loved ones, especially her beautiful daughters.”

Holbrook Primary School, where Laura worked. Picture: GREGG BROWNHolbrook Primary School, where Laura worked. Picture: GREGG BROWN

While Rohini Karadia said: “You never forget working with someone like Laura, she is one in a million.”

Fellow teachers at Holbrook Primary School, including headteacher Annie Hookway, are closing the school on Tuesday as a mark of respect for Laura on the day of her funeral.

Ms Hookway said: “It was with great sadness that we heard of Laura’s death after a very brave fight against cancer. Laura had been employed as a teacher at Holbrook Primary School as interim cover following the promotion of the deputy headteacher.

“Although newly qualified, Laura immediately had a positive impact on the teaching team and with her pupils who adored her.

Laura GodfreyLaura Godfrey

“Laura had infectious good humour, nothing was going to be a problem that couldn’t be solved. Pupils gained confidence from her quiet assurance that all learning was possible and that it could even be fun.

“As a colleague she was always supportive of other colleagues, she noticed what others were doing in their classes and she would find useful resources that could support their work.

“When Laura had to undergo treatment it was invasive and painful, but she never ever showed how uncomfortable it was.

“She always put on a smile and was honest with children when they were curious about why she wore wigs, demystifying much of the fear people can have about cancer.

Laura's sister Polly Fyfe, daughters Helena and Grace Godfrey and husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaura's sister Polly Fyfe, daughters Helena and Grace Godfrey and husband Steve Godfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Parents, staff and pupils have all said how inspirational and courageous Laura was throughout her illness.

“We have been fortunate in knowing Laura. A talented teacher and great colleague, now sorely missed.”

Family members, friends and colleagues have collected thousands of pounds for St Elizabeth Hospice as they prepare to take on this year’s Midnight Walk in Laura’s memory.

They have already managed to collect more than £2,000 using two separate online fundraising pages.

One, called the Godfrey Girls 6, asks people to donate cash to the hospice, which Laura’s sister Polly said looked after the 35-year-old in her final days. (If the link does not work, visit: http://giving.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/the-godfrey-girls-6/)

The other, named the Godfrey Girls 12, has been set up by parents and teachers at Holbrook Primary School who say they are walking in memory of an “inspirational teacher” and “amazingly strong friend”. (If this link does not work, visit: http://giving.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/the-godfrey-girls-12/)

Did you know Laura? Send your tributes to us here. (emily.townsend@archant.co.uk)

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