Dedicated teacher who died after tragic classroom accident in Sheffield had cut holiday short to start work early

Lynsey Haycock
Lynsey Haycock
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A dedicated teacher who died following a tragic accident at a Sheffield school had cut short her holiday to prepare for the new term that day.

Lynsey Haycock had been putting up posters at Forge Valley School, in Stannington, when she broke her leg getting down from a table, an inquest heard.

Headteacher Dale Barrowclough outside Forge Valley School (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

Headteacher Dale Barrowclough outside Forge Valley School (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The 41-year-old mum-of-two was taken to Northern General Hospital, where she died early the following morning, on September 2 last year, after going into cardiac arrest.

Sheffield Coroner's Court today heard how the 'conscientious' science teacher wasn't due at school for another couple of days but had come in early to get her new classroom ready.

A post-mortem found no conclusive cause of death, but pathologist Dr Julian Burton told jurors that sudden arrhythmic death syndrome - a genetic heart abnormality he described as the adult equivalent of cot death - was one of three possible causes.

Dr Burton said the other likely causes were non-alcohol related hepatitis or severe obesity, but he couldn't rule out another cause altogether.

Andrew Stringer, a colleague of Mrs Haycock's, told how she had been putting up posters on the afternoon of September 1 last year when she placed her hand on the table and jumped down.

He said she had landed 'very, very awkwardly' and was 'very much in pain', but had thought first of her children and then of the school which she felt she had 'let down' as she knew she would be off work for a long time.

Mrs Haycock was taken to Northern General Hospital, where she was treated in A&E before being transferred to the surgical assessment unit.

It was there she was found unresponsive early the next morning and was pronounced dead at 6.30am despite extensive efforts to resuscitate her.

Her widower Tim said she had always been 'strong and active', and they had just returned from a family holiday in Norfolk, where she had been running around National Trust sites chasing Pokemon with their children.

"She was very clever, very caring and very strong," he said, adding that she was always prepared to fight for something if she thought it was right.

Laurinda Bower, assistant coroner for South Yorkshire, praised the 'conscientious' teacher for returning to work early to get her new classroom ready.

The court heard how staff who wanted posters to be put up or required other work to be done at height were expected to log a request via the school's intranet for a caretaker to do the job.

But Tim told how his late wife, who was born in Edinburgh, was the sort of person who 'just wanted to do something and get it finished'.

Mrs Haycock's mum Kate Arnott told how she last spoke to her daughter at around 11pm on the night of the accident, when, once again, her thoughts had been with others.

"She was going on about how silly she'd been and how much work she was causing. She was also wondering how she would get through it, and I told her we would get through it together," she said.

Dale Barrowclough, headteacher at Forge Valley, told how Mrs Haycock had joined the school in 2015 from Horizon Academy, in Barnsley.

He praised her as a very 'knowledgeable' and 'enthusiastic' teacher who had been 'very popular' with pupils and staff and had worked hard to turn around the school's science department, which had been struggling.

He also told how it was the first of three tragedies to hit the school this academic year. In December, 15-year-old student Hakeem Pickering-Smith sustained life-changing injuries after being hit by a car, and in March, 14-year-old Scott Marsden died after collapsing during a kickboxing contest.

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