A former Olympic medalist died suddenly at the age of just 43.
Helen Smart was a Team Great Britain swimmer and competitive athlete who previously won a bronze medal at Kuala Lumpur’s 1998 Commonwealth Games and two silver medals at the European and World Championships.
After performing for her country at the 2000 Olympic Games, Smart retired from professional swimming and went on to become a headteacher at Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School in Wigan, England.
According to the preliminary reports, Smart died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 43. The cause of death remains unclear.
Helen’s husband has since the tragic news spoken out and paid his wife a touching tribute in which he explained that she loved her school and was proud of her work.
“She loved the school, staff, children and parents so much. She was so proud to reach her goal of being headteacher,” husband Craig Smart said.
“I remember only last week she said her goal was to get the school to outstanding and that she had the right staff to achieve this! I hope you all keep learning like champions.
“Please learn from this and live your best life, no regrets, take lots of photos, make memories and keep smiling just like Helen always did!”
Meanwhile, hundreds of well-wishers shared their tributes to the late teacher. Among them was Olympic medalist Sharron Davies who said: “This is very sad news. Always a pleasure to interview & always a huge smile on her face. A Fierce competitor.”
Worsley Mesnes School’s chair of governors Alison Halliwell added: “Our heart-felt condolences are sent to Helen’s family at this very difficult time. I know this news will be a shock and cause great sadness to our community.
“I want to reassure you that the governors of Worsley Mesnes School are working with the local authority and school to ensure that our children, staff and parents will receive the necessary support in the coming weeks.
“Further information/updates will be issued as and when they are available.”
Our thoughts remain with Helen’s family and loved ones during this challenging time.