The sudden and unexpected death of an ‘inspirational’ teacher from Long Eaton has sparked a flood of tributes.
Estina James died in her sleep, aged 45, on April 17 at her home. She leaves partner Brian and son Dwayne.
A second post-mortem examination was under way to establish the cause of her death.
Estina joined Aldercar Community Language College as a teaching assistant and became inspired to become a qualified teacher specialising in IT.
Fellow teacher, and friend for over 25 years, Sue Cooper said: “It really was an absolute shock. She had just been on holiday and she looked so well. I really can’t believe it to be honest.
“She had recently gained her degree and was two months away from passing a teaching qualification.
“She had worked so hard. It’s just so tragic. She was so young and it was so unexpected. ”
In a letter to parents and carers, head teacher Tony Cooper wrote: “At all times she showed herself to be a person of honesty and integrity and someone who has total loyalty to all those she worked with.
“Her commitment, dedication, support, work ethic, tenacity and determination to give and expect success have always been of the highest quality. Some of you may have only known her for a short time, whilst others will have had the privilege of knowing her over a considerable number of years.
“Either way, I feel sure that we will all have an empty space because of her passing. Estina leaves a partner and son and I feel sure you would wish to join us in extending your sympathies to them during this time of sorrow and grief.”
The news was broken to pupils at an assembly in the week of her death. A book of condolence has been opened just outside the school’s main office. Pupils can talk to an appropriate member of staff about Estina, if they feel the need to do so.
Estina was a keen netball player and enjoyed salsa classes.
A minute’s silence was held by the Gems netball team, to which she belonged, at West Park Leisure Centre on April 25 as a mark of respect.
Team mate Jade Hannah Bult said: “It was a great turn out from many clubs and their players. I know she was looking down on her team and giving a big thumbs up.”
A Facebook page entitled ‘RIP Miss James’, set up for friends, family and former students to pay tribute, has been swamped with messages.
Among the comments posted, Rich Freeman said: “You were a brilliant teacher, and one of the kindest and most understanding people who worked at your school. Rest in peace.”
you will be missed by all of us.”
Lauren Denman said: “Miss James was a great teacher, and amazing at ICT. I will miss her so much. The school will never be the same. You will be greatly missed!”
Charlotte Pease said: “Thoughts and wishes go out to her family. A truly great teacher and an amazing netballer.”
Lauren Mckane said: “She was amazing and such an inspiration. I actually loved IT and that lesson will never be the same without her and it wasn’t the same walking into T1 and not seeing you.”
“My thoughts are with friends and family. I actually wouldn’t class you as just a teacher - you were a friend to all pupils.”