Staff and children’s sadness over death of school technician Ian Leaf

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TWO school communities have been left devastated by the death of a much loved Wearside technician.

Tributes have been pouring in for Washington musician, Ian Leaf who went missing earlier this week.

The 30-year-old’s body was discovered at 8pm on Tuesday night after a search by police.

At Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy in Birtley, where Ian worked as an audio visual technician and had himself been a pupil, the whole school has been left devastated.

And at Washington School, where Ian previously worked for five years, the staff and students are also in shock.

Principal at Lord Lawson of Beamish, Mark Lovatt, said: “Honestly, you could not have met a more genuine or lovely guy, you would never hear anyone say a bad word about him. The whole school is reeling from the shock.

“He was hugely popular and much-loved. He will be a massive miss here, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.”

Mr Lovatt said through his job at the school, Ian touched the lives of so many of the staff and pupils and made a big impact on them.

Deputy principal at the County Durham school, John Reach, who knew Ian when he was a student there, said: “Ian was a model pupil from a model family and we are struggling to come to terms with what has happened.”

Ian, a bass player with local band, My Attorney, worked as a technician at Washington School between 2006 and 2011 and John Hallworth, executive headteacher, said he was a true gentleman who proved to be a consummate professional during his time there.

Mr Hallworth added: “His genuinely gentle and caring manner made him many friends amongst the staff and he was greatly respected by the students.

“The news of his untimely death has shocked and saddened everyone who knew him and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time of loss.”

At Lord Lawson of Beamish, where Ian’s dad, Albert Leaf, is currently chairman of governors, the students have already been coming up with ideas of how they can remember Ian, including putting messages on paper leaves and covering the metal tree in the schools atrium.

Northumbria Police launched the search for Ian, who lived in Oxclose, when he failed to turn up for work on Tuesday, which they said was completely out of character.

An inquest into his death was due to be opened today.