Tributes paid to Waterlooville teacher

Camilla Dickens
Camilla Dickens

Graduation event marks apprentices

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TRIBUTES have been paid to an inspiring young teacher who has lost her three-year battle with cancer.

Camilla Dickens was a talented musician who played in many bands and touched the lives of everyone she met.

Despite being diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer in early 2011 the 25-year-old was always bright, happy and affectionate and had a huge circle of friends.

Many have said she had a unique gift for making each friendship feel special.

Joel Ranson knew the 25-year-old from her days in the band NineNinetyNines.

He said: ‘With Cammi, friendship was unconditional and your wellbeing paramount. The day she told me she had cancer she first asked me how I was and if things were okay with me before delivering her news.

‘Those questions and the news broke my heart. But her selfless attitude and response to her illness completely changed my outlook on life at a very crucial point.

‘This was always her unique ability – to unknowingly make you a better, happier person.’

Camilla was a pupil at Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville and went on to become a trainee RE teacher at the school she loved.

Last year she was recognised for excellent progress on the graduate teaching course. Headteacher Matthew Quinn said: ‘As both a student and member of staff Camilla embraced the life of the school embodying the Oaklands spirit wholeheartedly. She saw herself rooted in the Oaklands community.

‘Camilla touched the lives of many of us and this will be the greatest lesson that she will have taught us all. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.’

Camilla, from Denmead, had friends from all walks of life and also a close-knit group of girlfriends from school.

In a joint tribute they described their friend as ‘more popular than the Queen’ and added: ‘Camilla truly was our pillar of strength, laughter, inspiration and courage.

‘Her loyalty, and her innate ability to make you feel like the most special person was infectious.

‘She made you believe you could accomplish anything.

‘She would always give the most perfect advice, the best hugs and a smile that you’d carry with you all day. She has taught us all what true selflessness is. Some people are only blessed with a couple of these qualities – she just honestly had them all.

‘She may have been taken too soon but in her short 25 years she blessed more people with her laughter, smile, compassion and bright mind than anyone could ever hope to if we had 100 years.’

And friend Andrew Galvin, 25, of Woodfield Avenue, Farlington, said: ‘Her smile was the most genuine of anyone I knew. She was always genuinely pleased to see anyone who made the effort and she never let the focus be on herself.’

Camilla died on Tuesday following a battle with Ewing’s sarcoma.

She had a sister and brother who both died at a young age from heart conditions.

Her parents David and Mandy, and sister Eleanor, from Little Corner, Denmead, were too upset to speak to The News.