TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular teacher from Colwall who has died in a car crash.

Jill Evans, who was deputy head at Ledbury Primary School, died on Saturday.

Mrs Evans, who was 58, and her family were travelling from their home in Colwall to Oxfordshire to celebrate a second Christmas with relatives when the collision took place.

It is understood that Mrs Evans' husband, Brian, and her step-daughter and step-grandson were in the car at the time of the accident and are still recovering in hospital.

Ledbury Primary headteacher Julie Rees contacted all the parents of pupild at the school with the sad news on Sunday, and on Monday the children took part in a special assembly called 'A Hug for Mrs Evans', to remember all the things they loved about the popular deputy head.

Mrs Rees said: "Jill had been with the school since 2000. She joked that she came as a supply teacher and ended up staying forever.

"She was a fabulous, wonderful teacher and friend. She had a great sense of humour, but she was never flamboyant; she was kind, with a wonderful way with people, and she was always so well organised.

"Her death is an absolutely huge loss to me, personally."

Mrs Rees added: "We've been overwhelmed by the huge support of the people of Ledbury. Lots of flowers have been sent. There is a floral tribute outside the school, and other schools from far and wide have contacted us to know they are thinking of us."

The school has also posted a statement on its website.

It says: "The cards, flowers, gifts and kind messages have all been gratefully received at this very difficult time. We are truly blessed to know so many kind people.

"The family are in contact with the school and not only are they coming to terms with losing a wife and mother, they are also visiting three relatives who are still in hospital following the accident. They are all on the mend, slowly."

The message adds, poignantly: "For now, please know that the Ledbury Primary School pupils have truly shown their values by looking after their teachers this week."

One message of support for the school came from Russia, because a party of educators from the nation had recently visited the primary and admired Mrs Evans' dedication and passion for her work.

Now the school is planning a memorial service for Mrs Evans, which will probably take place in St Michael and All Angels Church.

Mrs Rees recalled: "Jill loved going to the church with the children for our annual carol service."

Paying tribute to Mrs Evans on the website of the John Masefield High School, for which the primary is a main feeder school, the headteacher Andrew Evans said: "It is with great sadness that we share the news that on Saturday Jill Evans, deputy headteacher of Ledbury Primary School, died in a car crash.

"Jill had been deputy head at Ledbury for a very long time and was greatly respected as an excellent teacher and an extremely capable, conscientious and caring deputy headteacher.

"Many of our students would have attended Ledbury Primary School and all of these students would have known Jill and a significant number would have been taught by her."

Mr Evans added: "Our thoughts are with Mrs Evans’ family and the students and staff of Ledbury Primary School at this incredibly difficult time."

Similar poignant messages have been posted on social media and on the school's own website.

One message says Mrs Evans was "one of the best teachers I've had" and another message says, "She was a wonderful lady. I have many fond memories."