The Braintree and Witham Times is launching a book of condolence for readers and families to share their memories, thoughts and respects to Witham headteacher Simon Gibbs.

The news of his death was announced in a letter home to parents and carers yesterday.

A statement read: "I am very sorry to be writing with the tragic news Simon Gibbs, our principal, died over the weekend.

“From what we understand there was an accident on Saturday evening whilst Simon was away for the weekend with some friends in France.

“This is obviously devastating news, and our immediate thoughts are with Simon’s family at this impossible time.

"Simon was a much-loved colleague and brilliant headteacher and we will miss him enormously.

“He will be remembered for his integrity and passion for teaching, as well as his dedication to the community of New Rickstones.

“As we come through the next days and weeks, we will find the right way to remember him at New Rickstones and to celebrate his commitment to this community.”


 Tributes have already begun pouring in for the late head.

The Witham Hub said: "All at The Witham Hub are sad to hear of the passing of Mr Gibbs of New Rickstones Academy over the weekend.

"His loss will be felt by many at the school as he was an amazing, caring teacher. We were proud to work with him at The Hub.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this truly devastating and heartbreaking time."

Witham MP Dame Priti Patel has also shared her tribute.

She said: "Simon has been a much-loved teacher and education leader in Witham for over a decade.

"He will be greatly missed and his passing has left us feeling shocked and saddened.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Simon’s family and his friends, colleagues and pupils at this difficult time.

"I know the community in Witham will pull together at this time of grief to support one another."