Students and teachers, past and present, pay tribute to 'lovely, quiet and caring' teacher from Spalding who died in tragic collision on A52
An outpouring of sadness and sorrow has come after the tragic death of a “wonderfully warm-hearted teacher” from Spalding.
Gemma Ashling (40), who previously taught at Spalding Grammar School and Sir John Gleed School (now Spalding Academy), passed away in hospital on Wednesday night.
Ms Ashling, a religious studies and sociology teacher at Boston High School, was critically injured in a three-vehicle crash on the A52, near Boston, last Monday.
A silver Hyundai i10 driven by Ms Ashling was in collision with a double-decker bus and grey Volkswagen Transporter van on Main Road, Leverton.
Ms Ashling, who studied at Spalding High School, was taken to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital and then transferred to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where she passed away two days after the collision.
News of Ms Ashling’s death was confirmed on Thursday by Boston High School whose head teacher Andrew Fulbrook described her as a “dedicated, enthusiastic, kind and wonderfully warm-hearted teacher, colleague and friend.”
Molly Trevor (16), of Quadring, one of Ms Ashling’s sociology students, said: “She was such a bubbly, outgoing person who taught us that no matter what our background was, we could achieve anything we wanted to.
“I really hope Ms Ashling saw how much she meant to each and every one of us in school.”
Harriet Daley (19), of Pinchbeck, an ethics and philosophy student of Ms Ashling’s when she worked at Spalding Grammar School, said: “ I’m heartbroken because Ms Ashling was the best teacher I ever had.
“She was more of a mother figure than anything else who truly cared and made every student happy and proud of who they were.
“Ms Ashling was supportive, intelligent and hilarious in and out of the classroom and, as I enter my 20s, I will remember her as one of the teachers who gave me the support I needed in my teenage years.
“I am so sad Ms Ashling has gone but I’ll never forget the embrace she gave me on the last day of term after my exams.”
Rodney Sadd, of Carrington Road, Spalding, who knew Ms Ashling and her parents, said: “I’ll remember Gemma as a lovely, quiet and caring person who stood up for her principles and spoke up on matters that meant something to her.”
Steven Wilkinson, headmaster at Spalding Grammar School, said: “Gemma worked at Spalding Grammar School a couple of years ago and, although she was only with us for a relatively short time, she became a popular member of staff with both the students and her peers.
“I was saddened to hear of her death, as were the many staff who knew her when I informed them, and my thoughts are with Gemma’s family at this sad time.”
. Floral tributes have gathered outside Boston High School whose head teacher Mr Fulbrook said: "Our whole school family is so deeply saddened by this tragic loss and, at this time, our immediate thoughts are with Ms Ashling’s family and friends.
"We would wish to share our deepest sympathies and condolences with them at this desperately sad time
"Ms Ashling was a dedicated, enthusiastic, kind and wonderfully warm-hearted teacher, colleague
"Her positivity with students was always evident in all she did and, with her tutor group, she always
placed their needs first while being supremely kind, compassionate and considerate.
"Greeting them with a smile every morning, always taking the time to know them and understanding their needs, providing support and care in all she did.
"Ms Ashling was a highly skilled, professional and committed teacher within her subject areas of sociology
and religious studies here at Boston High School where she, again, always placed the students first and was always available for them.
"For example, on a Friday in school, she would organise a ‘Cake Day’ for her tutor group and after school, she would make herself available for those who simply wanted to chat at the end of a busy week.
"Ms Ashling was always there for the children, having worked at a number of schools in the area, in Spalding in particular.
"She had supported so many children through her career and I should like to thank all colleagues, from across the county who have taken the time to express their condolences.
"This says so much about Ms Ashling as a teacher and a person.
"She has been described by the students I have spoken to in her form and in school as a ‘Wonderful
lady with a heart of gold’ and as ‘a teacher who always made us feel happy’.
"Perhaps, most fittingly of all, Ms Ashling as ‘an inspiration’ and we all would echo these thoughts.
"Ms Ashling was a part of our family and we have received so many warm and comforting tributes
and messages from students, staff, governors, parents/carers and former students.
"I should like to thank them all for their support of our school as the thoughts and messages received have been so very consoling to us all at this sad time.
"Once again, I believe this says so much about Ms Ashling and is testament to the incredibly high
regard and esteem in which she is held by all who knew her.
"She was a wonderful teacher, a truly caring and kind person and a friend to so many and she will be sorely missed by us all.
"Finally, some words from a student who was in Ms Ashling’s Form Group: 'She would always find a way to make me smile'.