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Swaffham school mourns 'amazing' student support leader Danielle Chilvers who died in seaside tragedy

A school community is in mourning tonight following the death of a member of its staff at the weekend.

Danielle Chilvers, who was a student support leader at the Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham, died on Sunday in an incident in Waxham.

It is understood that she had been attempting to rescue her son, who had got into difficulties.

Danielle Chilvers (40296820)
Danielle Chilvers (40296820)

In a statement posted on the academy's website, principal Mark Woodhouse described her as " a much-loved member of our team" who would be missed by colleagues, students and parents alike.

He said: "Dani had worked at the academy for a number of years in a variety of roles and was well known, well regarded and well respected both within the academy and in the wider community.

"Dani was a Student Support Leader for the Key Stage 4 students in the academy and was an integral member of the pastoral team. As one student summarised, 'She had a heart of gold and was an amazing woman and teacher. The academy will feel the loss of such a kind person.’

"The welfare and well-being of her students were at the heart of everything Dani did in the academy and she would do anything to ensure that the students she worked with had every opportunity to be successful.

"She worked closely with not just our students but also with many of our families providing the sort of support that made a ‘life changing difference’ for them.

"Dani was determined and a passionate advocate for the students in her care. She wanted them not only to fulfil their potential but exceed it, always striving for the very best for them.

The Nicholas Hamond Academy Swaffham Main Entrance. (40295277)
The Nicholas Hamond Academy Swaffham Main Entrance. (40295277)

"Students knew that she would always be there to listen and it is this compassion that we will all desperately miss. Dani afforded the same level of support for her colleagues and many people will miss not only the positivity she brought but also the support and empathy she had for everyone."

The news of her death comes just two days before the academy's sixth form students receive their A-level results and little over a week away from the announcement of GCSE grades.

Mr Woodhouse added: "We know that this is an incredibly challenging time for students and staff and we are putting measures in place to support all our staff and students appropriately both now and when we return officially in September.

"This will be especially important next week during the Year 11 Results Day as this was a year group Dani had worked particularly closely with over the last couple of years.

"Whilst we will desperately miss Dani at the academy our thoughts go to her family and her sons who were her world and for whom she would do anything.

"It was this quality that made Dani stand out and it is the same characteristic that made her such a valued member of our academy community.

"We will all miss Dani very much and will spend many difficult moments grieving her loss but the impact of her work will live on as a legacy for many of our young people."

Superintendent Jason Brooke, of Norfolk Police, said Danielle's death was being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.

He added: "While enquiries are continuing to establish the exact circumstances leading up to the woman’s death, this is a tragic situation and our condolences are with her family."

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