Tributes to Sudbury headteacher Lesley Farrow following death in horse riding accident

Lesley Farrow died in a horse riding accident

Lesley Farrow died in a horse riding accident - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to an “extremely inspirational” Sudbury primary school headteacher who died after falling from a horse.

Staff, parents and pupils at Woodhall Community Primary School have been left devastated by news of the sudden death of 47-year-old Lesley Farrow following a riding accident.

Deputy headteacher Helen Arbon made the announcement on the school’s website yesterday which read: “It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the sudden and tragic death of our Headteacher, Mrs Lesley Farrow.

“We have told the children and have put in a range of support.

“A letter with more details will be sent home with your children this afternoon.”


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Tributes to the mother-of-two, who was from Bradfield Combust near Bury St Edmunds and had been in post at Woodhall Primary since last September, poured in on Twitter and Facebook yesterday.

Last night, local authority governor and Sudbury mayor Jack Owen who had known Mrs Farrow for the past 18 months, told the EADT that the whole school, the teachers, the children, parents and governors were “absolutely devastated”.

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He said: “Lesley was a very talented headteacher. I always found her to be an extremely inspirational person with lots of good ideas who was moving the school forward. She will be sadly missed for all sorts of reasons.

“We would ask people to respect the wishes of her family that they should be left to grieve in private.”

One parent, who did not want to be named, said her daughter was extremely upset by the news. She added: “Mrs Farrow had made a huge difference to the school. She is irreplaceable.”

Under Mrs Farrow’s direction, Woodhall Primary played an active role in the local Sudbury community. In May, students performed at the French-themed town twinning anniversary event at Sudbury Town Hall and last December they provided musical entertainment for the town’s senior citizens at the annual Christmas lunch.

Judith Fardell, 60, who retired as headteacher at Wells Hall Primary School in Sudbury in 2013 and knew Mrs Farrow for eight years, said the news was “totally shattering”.

“I knew Lesley in a professional capacity and I bumped into her about two weeks ago and she asked me how I was enjoying retirement and I asked her how she was enjoying Woodhall,” Mrs Fardell added.

“She said she absolutely loved working there and it was the best move she had ever made working locally.

“She just seemed so happy. I remember her being a highly professional headteacher who was totally dedicated to the school and the children and she got the job done. She fully immersed herself in school life and her family were very important to her.”

Mrs Farrow was also headteacher at the former All Saints Middle School in Sudbury for four years and was widely credited for turning it around. Yesterday, former students of the school took to Facebook to express their sadness, most remembering her as “firm but fair” and for “completely transforming All Saints.”

After the school closed, Mrs Farrow went on to be headteacher at Clements Primary School in Haverhill before making the move back to Sudbury last September.

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