A school is in mourning after the sudden death of an “inspirational” pupil.
Arlind Koka, 15, a student at Philips High School in Whitefield, Bury, passed away at the weekend.
The popular teenager is understood to have had a medical condition but his death was totally unexpected. Today his head teacher and fellow pupils paid tribute to “a unique and inspirational” student, who remained positive despite health issues.
Stunned by the tragedy, they have pinned messages to a tree within the school grounds, and left floral tributes at the foot of it.
A permanent memorial - possibly a garden - is now being planned for him.
Head teacher, Tina Owen, said: “We are all devastated, both pupils and staff. I asked the children to give me words to describe Arlind and they chose, 'unique, inspirational, loving' and 'a caring individual'. “His favourite saying was ‘it’s fine’, because he always had a positive outlook on life."
In a letter to parents, Ms Owen said: “It is with deep regret that I am writing to inform about a recent loss to our school community. On Saturday one of our Year 11 students passed away unexpectedly.
“Tutors have spoken to their tutor groups and we realise that this is going to be a very difficult time for students and their families and some students will need support and guidance.”
Reece Hodgson praised pupils for the way they had come together to support each other through the loss, and that although it was hard, it was time to focus on their upcoming exams and make their friend proud.
Reece posted on social media: “Year 11 has made Arlind proud today everyone has came together and have shown respect for him and giving flowers and letters on the tree.
“Year 11 now I know it’s hard but we need to push through it and smash our GCSEs for him and now Philips Year 11 let’s do him proud.”
Presley Whitbread added: “Hope my year is okay, all need to stay strong for Arlind it’s what he would of wanted, my thoughts are with his family and his friends. Rest in peace Arlind.”
Jen Crawshaw posted: “RIP Arlind, was taken way too early and you’ll be missed by many, thoughts and prayers are with family and friends, gone but never forgotten.”
Nicola Williams wrote: “So much bad news today makes you realise how precious life is. Fly high Arlind.”