STUDENTS and staff at a Stourport primary school are mourning the death of their much-loved and highly respected headteacher.

Francesca Fishwick, who had led Wilden All Saints CE Primary School for five years, passed away on Wednesday (January 29) - four months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Tributes have been pouring in for the 41-year-old mother of three from Droitwich, described as an “inspirational and compassionate” leader.

Acting head of school Charlotte McDonald said: “As heartbroken as we all are at her untimely passing, we give thanks for being part of her life, for the joy she brought to us every day, for her desire for all our children to reach their potential and to move on to the next stage of their lives with a love and excitement for learning.

“She cared deeply for all the staff at Wilden – for their well-being and personal development.

"She taught us all a huge amount and leaves behind an amazing legacy.

"We will all do our very best to do her proud in continuing her work here at Wilden."

Sian Burford, chair of governors, added: “Fran is a huge loss to us all. She was a truly inspirational and compassionate leader and I am proud to have had the honour of working alongside her.”

The school is part of Severn Academies Educational Trust and its chief executive, Chris King, said he and other members of the team were providing support to Wilden’s staff and pupils.

He added: “Fran was an exceptional and dedicated headteacher, whose warmth and compassion endeared her to everyone.

"She was a great friend to so many, and, of course, a loving daughter, sister, aunty, wife and mother. Her loss is felt very deeply.”

Margaret James, diocesan director of education, said: “Like all those who knew Francesca, the diocesan education team is devastated to hear of her untimely death.

"Fran was a fantastic church school headteacher and simply a lovely person to work with and I know she’ll be missed terribly.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and all at Wilden as well as the wider SAET Multi Academy Trust as they come to terms with the loss and find a way to move forward.

"They can be assured of our full support.”