Tributes flood in for tragic teacher

MOVING tributes were today paid to a popular Ipswich headteacher who was found dead at his home.

MOVING tributes were today paid to a popular Ipswich headteacher who was found dead at his home.

Owain Richards, 42, had been headteacher at Cliff Lane Primary School since 2004 after moving to Suffolk from Essex.

He was today remembered as a dedicated professional, an inspirational teacher and a loving father as well as a keen football player.

Angela Richards, his widow with whom he had separated in October 2008, said: “Owain was an enthusiastic and energetic daddy and much-loved husband and we shared a happy family life.

“His family and friends are struggling to come to terms with his decision to end his life.

“He was an inspiration to fellow staff and pupils and was 100 per cent dedicated as a headteacher, despite the stress that leading a school can bring.”

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Mr Richards was in a new relationship with Lisa Duff-Godfrey, 31, with whom he lived.

Today she said: "He was my partner and my best friend. He will live on in my heart forever."

Mr Richards played semi-professional football and had more recently been assistant manager of Holbrook Swan Football Club.

His Facebook page is full of tributes, many issued by former pupils and colleagues.

Lisa Kent wrote: “Such a shame you had to leave us so soon. My thoughts are with your family at this sad time.”

Rachel Dobbie added: “The school gates seem very unwelcoming without you there.”

Mr and Mrs Richards, who trained as teachers together in London, have two children, Charlotte, 12, and Oscar, seven. They also had twin girls who died several years ago.

“We were together for 21 years, through many of life's ups and downs,” said Mrs Richards, of Mumford Road, West Bergholt, Essex.

“And I have tried to stop loving him, as he started a new relationship. But my love for Owain is deep, and hasn't ever gone. My heart is truly broken that he was unhappy enough to do this. Owain was suffering from huge stress and the man he was had been lost to us for the last year or so.”

Mr Richards was found dead at his home on Sunday evening. An inquest has been opened and adjourned.

A funeral will be held in West Bergholt.

If you would like to pay tribute to Owain Richards, write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk