A SCHOOL has paid tribute after a former teacher, who was "enthusiastic" and "inspired" her students, died suddenly.
Veronica Yardley taught English for many years at Westcliff High School for Girls and was also an "enthusiastic" sixth form tutor.
The school's statement led to an outpouring of love and grief from her former students, who commented her infectious love for Jane Austen has been passed down generations.
In a statement, the school says: "Mrs Yardley was very organised and hard-working and inspired her students to be the same, bringing them excellent examination results.
"Her passion for Jane Austen was also shared with her students and we have no doubt that many continue to love this author thanks to the introduction they received at school."
Mrs Yardley was in charge of the school library for many years and was "delighted" when the new Lis Harries Library replaced the crowded shelves of room 7.
"Her choice of books and managerial efficiency inspired a love of reading in many pupils," the school continued.
"We send our sincere condolences to her children and wider family."
One former pupil, paying tribute, commented how Mrs Yardley was the only teacher who noticed when they were feeling poorly and checked up on them.
Now, they say, in their own teaching career, they try to emulate her ability to spot pupils "who are quietly suffering" and hopes her family know how formative, inspirational and influential she was.
Mrs Dron, head of English at Westcliff High School for Girls, commented: "Mrs Yardley was kind and keenly intelligent with a witty sense of humour and was committed to inspiring her students and to instilling scholarly curiosity.
"Many of her past A Level students will have fond memories of her teaching lessons on Antony and Cleopatra and The Duchess of Malfi and of her enthusiasm for drama.
"Supportive to all and rigorously attentive to detail, she was passionate about language and literature. She was a wonderful teacher and will be missed."