FRIENDS and staff at Driffield School have paid an emotional tribute to the “popular, funny and intelligent” teenager.
She had left school only a few months ago after successfully passing her A-levels and her death has stunned and saddened the community.
Sixth form students and staff are currently producing a Book of Condolence for Hannah.
They have paid tribute to the young woman who had a bright future ahead of her and is remembered as “a truly remarkable character”.
Former head of sixth form Chris Myers told the Driffield Times & Post: “Those of us who knew Hannah well will always remember a young woman of great potential and determination who loved a good debate and was never afraid to stand her ground in discussions whilst still being able to be sensitive to the views of those around her.
“She would often bring a fresh, personal and informed approach to the table as well as her unique sense of humour which made her a very popular student.
“As her head of sixth form, I was lucky enough to get to know Hannah very well in Year 13, especially as she spent most of her lunchtimes and some of her free time in the ‘quiet room’ just outside my office. This showed another side of Hannah, who was adored by all her close friends for her sense of fun, empathy, warmth and understanding.”
Mr Myers went on: “I was always impressed by her enthusiasm for everything and her ambition. As one of the quiet room gang, I’ll remember all the happy times (and the sad ones) that we shared and the lunches, crazy (and sometimes serious) conversations that we had.
“I was very much looking forward to putting together her reference for university and never imagined that I’d be asked to write a school tribute in this way.
“Her approach was not always conventional and this made Hannah all the more endearing. I’ll treasure even more the message that she left me on my leavers’ apron which the quiet room gang gave me when they left.
“We offer our deepest sympathy to her family and friends.”
Mick Cowan, the school’s head of English, said: “A week or so ago I received an email from Hannah asking for a reference to support her application to work for a charity which seeks to help the vulnerable. It wasn’t at all surprising that she would do this work, she always thought compassionately about others.
“That reference was going to be very easy to write because she had so many excellent qualities.
“Years ago, and trusting in her own maturity and judgement, she must have decided to let herself be guided by the values that she had learned were important and they are the ones that guide the best of people: a sense of justice, generosity towards others, and kindness in all of her dealings.
“She looked on the world with a caring eye, but also with an intellect that left her free to think through her responses to all kinds of ideas and experiences in an independent and probing way. The impressions these reflections produced would often be beautifully and enlighteningly expressed in our sixth form discussions.”
Mr Cowan said these qualities would have stood Hannah well for the future.
“She was thinking of studying law and how brilliant she would have been in this field,” he said.
“Whichever university she would have decided to study at would soon have found how hard-working and diligent she was and what an original mind she possessed. They would also have found someone with a great sense of fun who could tell a story with sharp insights into human character and who could always see the humour in the world around her.
“Her friends loved her and she was true to them. They will tell you what wonderful company she was and how greatly she was respected. To have developed these qualities and allegiances at such a young age is humbling and tells us what a rich life was ahead of her. She possessed a spirit that will not be forgotten by any of us.”
Hannah’s former form teacher Lizzy Windram said: “Hannah was a member of my form for five years.
“I had the joy of watching her grow from a new Year 7 student into a popular, friendly, funny, intelligent young woman who was well-liked by all. She was unfailingly polite and kind to every other student she met, always hard working and above all, great fun to be with.
“Hannah’s death has come as a terrible shock to me and to those who were in the form with her and we will remember her with great warmth and fondness always.”
Darren Andrews, head of the sixth form, said; “As Hannah’s head of house it was a joy to see Hannah blossom during her time at school.
“Always empathetic, prepared to face and surmount any challenge that came her way and warm towards anyone who needed her support, Hannah’s life at Driffield School was marked by the value that she added to the lives of others.
“When you can speak of someone’s name and it draws nothing but admiration from their peers, then that is the true measure of the individual. Hannah has given us joy, challenge, eloquence and grace; qualities that defined her as a truly remarkable character.”
Hannah, who lived at Wetwang, had a part-time job at Wolds Village at Bainton, whose owner Sally Brealey said everyone who works there is devastated at her death.
“She was a lovely girl who was a well-loved member of staff. Everyone here is just devastated. She was 15 turning 16 when she started here and had been coming to the restaurant with her parents all her life. She had just finished her A levels and was deciding whether to go travelling or what to do.”
Mrs Brealey said Hannah had worked as a waitress and had recently been given more responsibility by running the associated craft shop on the days she was working there.
“We gave her the responsibility and she took it on board very well. The customers loved her,” she said.