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Desperate bid to help save teacher in crash tragedy
10:00am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in News
AN off-duty police civilian worker and a motorist desperately tried to help a teacher after a horrific road crash which claimed her life, an inquest heard.
Debbie Rooke, 31, of Prittlewell Chase, Westcliff, died after her bicycle was hit by a car near Fakenham, Norfolk, in April.
She was airlifted by East Anglian Air Ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, but died two days later on April 13.
The inquest was told an off-duty civilian officer based at Fakenham police station came across the scene and did his best to help Debbie, a popular teacher, who worked at De La Salle School. in Basildon.
The hearing was also told Joanne Porter was on her way to Walsingham with her two children when she came across the crash.
She was commended by Norfolk coroner William Armstrong for her efforts to take control of the scene, as well as sitting with Miss Rooke until the ambulance arrived.
As there were no witnesses to the crash, Mr Armstrong said it was not known why driver Arthur Hedge, 88, lost control of his car. He also died in the crash.
Describing the incident as a “dreadful catastrophe”, Mr Armstrong said it was a possibility Mr Hedge experienced a medical event or a momentary lapse of concentration that caused him to lose control and his car to hit a tree.
Debbie’s parents, Joy and David Rooke, told the Norwich inquest Debbie was a devout Christian and attended St Helen’s Church, in Westcliff.
She had been a regular visitor to Walsingham, in Norfolk, for pilgrimages.
Following her death, her organs were donated after she had signed the donor register.
In a statement, her family said: “Her Christian faith was central to the way she lived and shone through all she did.”
Joy Rooke, 60, of Beedell Avenue, Westcliff, said: “Debbie had no hesitation about donating her organs.
I think she wanted to do that because she cared for people.”
The family, including brother Simon, 28, have been fundraising for the air ambulance and hospital that treated her as a thank you.
The coroner returned a verdict for both deaths as a result of a road traffic collision.
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