Tributes to teacher

PUPILS and colleagues have paid an emotional tribute to a "very special" schoolteacher, who has died from cancer aged 38.Mother-of-two, Nicola Houghton, a former teacher at both Claydon High School and Westbourne High School, in Ipswich, died peacefully at St Elizabeth's Hospice in Ipswich on February 10.

PUPILS and colleagues have paid an emotional tribute to a "very special" schoolteacher, who has died from cancer aged 38.

Mother-of-two, Nicola Houghton, a former teacher at both Claydon High School and Westbourne High School, in Ipswich, died peacefully at St Elizabeth's Hospice in Ipswich on February 10.

Pupils were told of their teacher's death when they returned to school yesterday from the half-term break. Her students had sent cards during her illness, which had lasted several months, and were "saddened" to hear the news.

To pay tribute to Mrs Houghton, who was married to Chris, both Suffolk schools are creating memory boards to commemorate her teaching and the lasting impact it had on her students.

Elizabeth Soule, Claydon High School headteacher, said the memorial would ensure that Mrs Houghton's two young daughters, Sarah and Lucy, realised their mother was "a very special teacher".

"Nicki inspired affection and respect in her students and her colleagues. We will miss her unfailing warmth and good humour as much as we will miss her expertise and dedication. She gave young people confidence in their ability to achieve."

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David Thomas, deputy headteacher of Westbourne High School, added that teaching "can ill afford to lose such a committed and caring professional". Both schools extended their "deepest sympathy" to the language teacher's family and friends.

Mrs Houghton, from Holbrook, near Ipswich, joined Westbourne High School in 1988 and achieved her ambition to become head of the modern languages department in 1991.

There will be a memorial service at All Saints Church in Holbrook on Saturday. It is family flowers only, but donations can be made payable to St Elizabeth's Hospice, c/o Co-operative Funeral Service, 10 Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich IP4 1HW.