Girl collapses and dies at school

A BRILLIANT schoolgirl was being mourned yesterday after she collapsed and died during an English lesson at an Essex school.Emma Hurlbut, who had previously been fit and healthy, slumped forward on to her desk while learning about Shakespeare.

A BRILLIANT schoolgirl was being mourned yesterday after she collapsed and died during an English lesson at an Essex school.

Emma Hurlbut, who had previously been fit and healthy, slumped forward on to her desk while learning about Shakespeare.

The 12-year-old was rushed to hospital where medics battled in vain to revive her but she never regained consciousness.

A post mortem proved to be inconclusive and more tests will be needed before the cause of death is known.


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Yesterday, pupils and staff at the St John Payne Roman Catholic School in Chelmsford were struggling to come to terms with Emma's death.

Headteacher Frank McEvoy said: "The whole school community is deeply saddened by this tragic news and offers their sincere condolences to Emma's parents and family.

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"Emma was a happy, loving, good-natured and capable pupil who loved both her family and school. She will be sorely missed.

"Many pupils who knew Emma well were shocked by this news and we have been supporting all those closely affected."

Mr McEvoy said Emma's parents John and Paula, who live in Southminster, near Maldon, and also have a four-year-old son, were "absolutely devastated".

He added: "It is beyond belief and we really have no idea how they must be feeling.

"Emma had no known health problems and was on the face of it a very fit and healthy girl."

Mr McEvoy said: "She was very bright and was doing really well at school and loved everything she did."

A book of condolences has been opened in the school chapel for pupils to sign and a team of counsellors brought in to help staff and students come to terms with Emma's death.

The tragedy happened at about 11am on Thursday while the Year 8 pupil was in an English class.

"Somebody said to the teacher that Emma had fainted. Our on-site medic, who is a former paramedic, was on scene very quickly and began trying to revive Emma.

"The classroom was cleared and an ambulance was called while efforts continued to revive her but sadly there was nothing they could do at hospital."

Emma was officially confirmed dead at nearby Broomfield Hospital.

A post-mortem examination showed there would have to be further tests before the cause of death could be ascertained although police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

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