Schoolboy dies after collapse in college toilet in Cornwall


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The Independent Online

A 16-year-old boy has died after collapsing in college toilets.

Charlie Alford was found by staff at Cornwall College, Saltash, yesterday afternoon.

Staff tried to resuscitate the teenager before emergency services took him to hospital, where he died later.

Friends and teachers paid tribute to the student, who had only recently started at the college.

In a statement, Jan Langley, Charlie's lecturer at Cornwall College Saltash, described the teenager as "a cheeky charmer who you couldn't help but like".

The statement added: "He was so popular with his classmates and they'd all really got to know each other well in the few weeks since he started at college. It's such a sad loss."

Cornwall College principal Dave Linnell said: "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy.

"Our thoughts are with Charlie's family and friends. We are supporting students and staff at this difficult time."

A Cornwall College spokeswoman said counsellors had been on site since Charlie's death to offer support to students and staff affected by the tragedy.

Police said they were unable to comment on the possible causes of Charlie's death, but said nobody else was being sought.

A statement said: "Police were informed at around 5.30pm on Wednesday by Derriford Hospital (in Plymouth) that a 16-year-old boy had died.

"Staff at the Saltash site of Cornwall College found the boy collapsed in a toilet area during the afternoon.

"CPR was carried out by staff and he was shortly afterwards taken to hospital by ambulance and was later declared deceased.

"Police are working closely with the college to ensure the welfare of staff and students are looked after and officers, as is usual in incidents such as these, are investigating the circumstances of this death."

Hundreds of people have taken to social networking sites to pay tribute to their friend, described as a "rock god".

In one Facebook memorial page, Charlotte Cole wrote: "I'll always remember you grinning and causing much mischief at the old chapel youth group.

"You had a talent for trouble that the rest of us could only dream of, so keep causing chaos up there and we'll all see you again one day."

Another post, from Georgia Louise Trivett, said she had helped set a lantern off in memory of Charlie.

She wrote: "Love you so much Charlie, you won't ever be forgotten, words cannot describe how devastated I am of this horrific news.

"You will always be a really good friend and I shall always devote my success and prayers to you."

Joe Francis said he had only been "close friends" with Charlie for a short time, but said: "It feels like I have known you for years."

Iona Smart described Charlie as a "brave, funny caring, nice, gentle person", adding: "We will all remember you and treasure you in our hearts forever more."