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'We could see from day one that she was special': Caroline Flack's former dance tutor shares memories of presenter

Theresa Kerr (right) founded the performance college Caroline Flack attended in Cambridge Credit: PA/ITV Anglia

The woman who taught Caroline Flack to dance as a teenager has said she is "devastated and shocked" by the presenter's death.

Ms Flack, 40, studied at Bodywork Company International in Cambridge for three years from the age of 16.

Theresa Kerr, who founded the dance college, told ITV Anglia they recognised her talent from the moment she arrived.

She said: "She was very very hard working, even then we knew that she would go somewhere.

"She was ambitious but not in a way that took anything away from her - she just worked hard."

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Ms Flack was most famous for presenting Love Island on ITV Credit: PA

Ms Flack's death was confirmed by her family on the evening of Saturday, 15 February.

The news was "devastating" according to Mrs Kerr, who highlighted the need to talk about mental health.

She said: "I couldn’t believe it initially [upon hearing news of her death], and then it was all confirmed - it's so sad.

"We’re devastated and really really shocked, because anyone that takes their own life is shocking.

"It flags up something that we’re all aware of now, that mental health situation with young people."

Flowers have been laid outside the TV presenter's house in London Credit: PA

Mrs Kerr has been teaching young performers since 1981, and said the former Love Island host was a brilliant all-round performer.

She said: "The thing people don’t realise is although she became famous as a tv presenter, she was actually a triple threat, someone who is good at singing, dancing and acting.

"She was a great singer as well as a great dancer.

"It was really nice that she actually got to do a West End show [when she performed in Chicago in 2018/19].

"When we did a 25th anniversary gala she compered that show for us - she was great, she was famous then and didn’t have to do it."

The dance teacher often messaged Ms Flack, who grew up near Watton in Norfolk and attended Wayland High School, including during her victorious Strictly Come Dancing campaign in 2014.

She was full of praise for the presenter's "great personality".

Mrs Kerr said: "Caroline was incredibly sweet, she was such a generous and kind person.

"I was speaking to a couple of people in her year, they were all paying immense tributes to her.

"Even with the fame, she remained a lovely, lovely person."

The presenter won a BAFTA for Love Island in 2018 Credit: PA

Ms Flack's death came weeks before a court appearance at which she was facing assault charges.

Numerous commentators have since condemned abusive and vitriolic comments made towards her about the case, and Mrs Kerr said she felt it amounted to bullying.

The dance tutor said: "Her thousands of followers need to understand how cruel social media can be.

"I think she was bullied by some social media sites and by the press, and we’ve seen that before."