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Accrington sex change teacher found dead
A MALE teacher who decided to live as a woman has been found dead at her home.
Nathan Upton, who went through a ‘transition’ to become Lucy Meadows at Christmas, was still teaching at St Mary Magdalen’s CofE Primary School, in Accrington before her death.
It is understood a family member raised the alarm after finding the Year Six teacher dead at her home in Ramsbottom Street, Accrington.
Police were called to the house but said there were no suspicious circumstances.
Tributes have since been paid to the ‘much loved’ 32-year-old, who told her pupils she had simply been born with ‘a girl’s brain in a boy’s body’.
Karen Hardman, headteacher of St Mary Magdalen's CofE Primary School, said her thoughts were with Miss Meadows’ family.
She said: “News of Lucy's death has come as a tremendous shock to everyone in the school.
“She was a greatly valued member of our staff and we send her family and friends our sympathy and prayers.
“We are working closely with the county council and the diocese to ensure we offer our pupils and staff the support they need.
“I would ask people to respect the privacy of everyone involved at this difficult time."
Residents living in the same street as Lucy, who had two children, said they were also ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ by news of her death.
One resident said: “This news is so very sad.
“Lucy was a lovely person who deserved to live her life as she wanted.
“I only saw her the other week walking towards the school where she worked and she said the transition was going well and that people were accepting her.
“She was a nice person that never did anyone any harm.”
Another resident said: “Lucy used to live next door with her wife Ruth and their children.
“I saw the police and ambulance on Tuesday.
“It’s terribly sad. Lucy would visit the shop where I work with her children and she always seemed chirpy.”
Neighbour and a father of a child at the school where Miss Meadows worked, Jason Caulfield, 38, said: “I saw the ambulance and the police attend Lucy’s home on Tuesday around 4pm.
“It’s really sad. Personally I have no opinion either way about the way she chose to live her life.”
Tributes were also being paid over social networking site Facebook.
Sushannah Courtney posted: “Feel so sad right now. RIP Miss Meadows, you were a very brave lady and a much loved teacher.
“You were a credit to our school and you will never be forgotten.”
Youngsters at the Devonshire Street school will now be offered pastoral and practical support by the Diocese of Blackburn.
A spokesman for the Diocese said: “We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Lucy Meadows. Our thoughts and prayers go out first to her family and friends at this extremely difficult time.
“Also in our prayers are the staff and pupils at the school for whom this news will have been a tremendous shock. Lucy was a valued and well-liked member of the team at St Mary Magdalen’s and her loss will be felt deeply by everyone associated with the school.
“At this point, Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education is working closely with Lancashire County Council in response to the news to offer the school pastoral and practical support and we would ask that the school is left in peace to allow that response to be managed as effectively as possible.”
Parents were notified about Miss Meadows decision to return to school as a woman in an end of year newsletter.
Each class was spoken to about the change by headteacher Karen Hardman, who said she was fully in support of Miss Meadows’ decision.
In a statement at Christmas Miss Meadows said: “This has been a long and difficult journey for me, and it was certainly not an easy decision to make. I am grateful to governors and colleagues at St Mary Magdalen's for their support.
"I'd now ask for my privacy to be respected so that I can continue with my job, which I'm committed to and which I enjoy very much."
Yesterday a police spokesman said: “At 4.45pm on Tuesday police were called by the ambulance service to a report of a sudden death at an address on Ramsbottom Street in Accrington.
“There are no suspicious circumstances and a file will be prepared and passed to the coroner.”