A beloved secondary school teacher and a father-of-three has died from Coronavirus only days after Christmas.
Paul Hilditch was only 55 years old when he succumbed to the killer virus, which has racked up a grim death toll of of 73,500 in the UK.
The engineering teacher had no underlying health conditions and it is not clear how caught the bug, The Mirror reported.
Tributes have flooded in by grieving and shocked students who will miss their “well-loved” member of staff who died on Sunday.
Headteacher at Conyers school in Teeside, Louise Spellman, said: "Paul was a fantastic teacher who thought so much of his students and really gave his all to ensure they achieved their best,' she said.
"Paul loved our school and our students: he will be remembered as a kind, devoted and truly brilliant teacher.
"All of our thoughts and prayers are with Paul's friends and family at this time."
It is understood Mr Hilditch has three children – two adult daughters and a son.
Mr Hilditch, a keen member of local reenactment group the Northern World War Two Association, was honoured on social media by his old pupils.
One shaken pupil said: "No way I'm reading this, he was one the best teachers in there. Rest in peace."
The parents of a pupil said: "My son really took to him and the way he taught – despite having only been taught by him since September.
"Absolutely heartbreaking, thoughts and love to his family."
Another wrote: "Such a terrible loss. My daughter thought he was a great teacher. My thoughts go out to his family."
Speaking to Mail Online, his grieving mum Diana said: “I am absolutely heartbroken. It is just such a terrible thing to have lost him. He had no underlying health conditions, he even climbed mountains.”
It is understood that the 55-year-old teacher had battled the virus for a fortnight before eventually succumbing.
Unions and local leaders have slammed the Government’s handling of the pandemic in schools and called for greater intervention.
It comes after a screeching u-turn by Downing Street to have most secondary schools closed of longer than originally planned.
Meanwhile, primary schools in hotspot areas have been ordered to close for all kids apart from key worker children.
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