Tribute paid to Hunstanton school girl

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A headteacher has paid tribute to a “kind” teenager who died earlier this week.

Stephanie Sanpher, who was a Year 9 pupil at Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School, died in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, of bacterial meningitis on Tuesday.

Headteacher Jon Goodchild said: “We are supporting staff and students through this very difficult time while at the same time giving them every opportunity to talk about their friend and share their memories of her if they wish to do so.

“Stephanie was a kind and caring girl. Staff and pupils remember her beautiful singing voice and really valued her friendship; she was often the one who would bring a smile to friends’ faces when they needed cheering up, and try to make things better.

“We are all so very sad and our thoughts are with Stephanie’s family; we can only offer them our most sincere sympathy, love and support.”

Norfolk County Council’s Critical Incident Team is at the school helping to support staff and pupils.

Dr Giri Shankar, consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health England Anglia and Essex said:“Our thoughts are with the family and those who knew the young pupil. Parents of children at the school have been advised they are not at an increased risk as a result of this case and should not be absent from school. However, it is important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis, particularly in young children. If you notice any of these, seek medical advice straight away.”

Symptoms include: high temperature, vomiting, severe headache, a stiff neck, aching limbs and joints, a dislike of bright lights along with drowsiness and a purple rash, which does not fade when pressed.

Meningococcal bacteria are common – about 10 per cent of the population carry them in the back of the nose or throat without causing harm.