Tributes paid after former Keighley school worker dies

Keighley News: Sarah O'Neill Sarah O'Neill

Tributes have been paid to a former school worker found dead at her home.

The body of Haworth resident Sarah O’Neill, who used to work at Holy Family Catholic School in Keighley, was discovered on Saturday.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “We received a call from the ambulance service at 11pm about a 42-year-old woman found dead at home in Hebden Road.”

The death is not being treated as suspicious, and a Bradford coroners’ office spokesman said an inquest was due to open at 10am yesterday.

Holy Family headteacher Lawrence Bentley said: “News of Sarah O’Neill’s death came as a huge shock to us.

“Until recently, she was a long-serving and dedicated member of staff. We offer our condolences to her family at this very difficult time.”

Tim Garthwaite, development manager at Holy Family who knew Mrs O’Neill (above) well during her time at the school, said: “Sarah worked for us for many years as access officer, being an advocate for those – whether staff or students – who had some difficulty in coping with the general life in school. Usually, but not always, this was because of mobility problems.

“Her case-load included those on regular medication, as well as the broken leg that arrived unannounced with its owner on a Monday morning. It did not matter how temporary or how difficult the problem might be. Sarah went at it like a terrier, refusing to yield until the difficulty had been mitigated.”

Mrs O’Neill’s duties included working with children suffering from autism, pupils recovering from accidents and also youngsters with dyspraxia, a condition that impairs physical co-ordination.

Other people who knew her have taken to Twitter and other forms of social media to express their sadness, and to recognise the major contribution she made to school life.

One of those who commented wrote: “RIP Mrs O’Neill. You are the best. You never knew the impact you had on so many people’s lives, especially mine. Sleep well xx.”

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