Family pays tribute to “beautiful, compassionate, intelligent and caring” teacher who died during cycling pilgrimage to Walsingham

Debbie Rooke

Debbie Rooke - Credit: Archant

The family of a high school science teacher who died after a collision with a car while on a cycling holiday in Norfolk has described her as 'beautiful, compassionate, intelligent and caring'.

Debbie Rooke, a devout Christian, had cycled to Norfolk from her home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, on a pilgrimage to Walsingham.

She died on Saturday, two days after the accident on the A1065 in South Raynham, near Fakenham.

The 31-year-old, who taught at De La Salle RC Comprehensive School in Basildon, completed an 800-mile bike ride for a brain tumour charity in 2011.

She had previously helped build a school in Uganda, taken extra training in special needs, and until recently was a first aid volunteer for the St John Ambulance.

Her family said she had a very wide circle of friends and touched many lives, adding 'so many people are devastated by her death, and have said how she has helped them'.

In a statement, they said: 'She was on the organ donor register, as we knew she would be. All of her organs that were in a good enough condition were donated, others being used for medical research.

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'The family were more than happy to carry out her wishes in this and would urge others to follow her example and sign up to the organ donor register now.

'She fitted more into her 31 years than most people could ever fit into their whole lifetime. She made every day count. The world is a better place for her having been here.

'Her family feel privileged that God gave her to them for 31 wonderful years, and, whilst they are devastated to have lost her so young, they are greatly comforted that she is with her Lord in Heaven.'

The family thanked the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the staff of Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Officers are keen to speak to anyone who may have spotted a green/silver coloured cycle travelling towards Swaffham, the manner of driving of the Micra or witnessed the incident itself.

They should contact the Serious Collision Investigation Team at Wymondham Roads Policing on 101.