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Dorchester Primary School mourns death of headteacher Louise Austin
The headteacher of Dorchester Primary School in Worcester Park has died.
Mum-of-three Louise Austin died on Wednesday after suffering with cancer.
A statement from the school said: "It is with deep regret that we announce the news that Louise Austin, our headteacher of seven years, died in hospital on Wednesday.
"Louise had battled cancer for some time and showed remarkable courage and strength whilst continuing to lead our school throughout her illness, remarkably right up until the Friday before.
"Our deepest sympathy goes out to Louise's husband, Howard, and their three children.
"To us, Louise was an extraordinary teacher with many gifts.
"She truly believed that every child deserved the very best education and always managed to find the certain something that made a child 'tick' and nurtured it with huge amounts of care.
"She was a strong and vibrant character who was excited and positive about the future of the school.
"Her absence will be sorely felt for a long time.
"We have received a great many messages of condolence and support here in school and they have been a great comfort.
"It is at times like this that you feel the benefits of being part of a close-knit school community that can pull together in times of difficulty."
Mrs Austin started her teaching career in Hackney in 1983 and taught all subjects before becoming subject leader in maths.
She went on to teach at a school in Roehampton where she was deputy headteacher before becoming the headteacher at Cheam Park Farm Nursery and Infants School in 1997.
Mrs Austin stayed there until July 2006 when she joined Dorchester Primary School.
A fan of keeping fit and going to the gym, Mrs Austin also enjoyed the arts and reading.
Twitter users have been using the social network to express their sadness at the news. @jesssicadugggan tweeted: "RIP Mrs Austin, the head teacher at Dorchester Primary School."
@fleurvward added: "would just like to pass on my condolences to Mrs Austin family...such a sad loss."
The school has set up a special email address for people to send messages of condolence to - email@example.com.
A book of condolence will also be available for people to sign at the entrance to the school and then after half-term from Monday, February 24, to Friday, February 28.