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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Popular Cumbrian teacher took her own life - inquest

An inspirational teacher who was unable to cope after her marriage ended took her own life by lying down on a remote fell in freezing weather.

Marian Page photo
Marian Page

Friends and colleagues of 57-year-old Marian Page, who taught at Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS) told how she had managed to conceal the true depth of her depression.

She was found dead on an isolated fell at Castle Carrock near Brampton – one of her favourite places – on January 13 this year. She had died from hypothermia.

An inquest heard how the teacher, who once taught at Carlisle’s Trinity School, told a friend part of her depression was rooted in her inability to cope with living alone.

Sarah Cuthbertson knew Mrs Page, from Southwaite, for 12 years and the two women were joint heads of the sixth form at QEGS.

She said: “Marian was a very private person, and an extremely able and intelligent person; an outstanding teacher, and a superb pastoral leader of our sixth form.”

Teaching geography and environmental science, Mrs Page poured immense energy into her work, allowing her students to achieve the best grades in sixth form.

Referring to Mrs Page’s depression, she said: “We talked at length about her feelings and not being able to show feelings. She had to put a public face on to come into school.”

She said in her last two years, her friend became increasingly isolated.

Mrs Page visited her doctor in September 2007 suffering low mood and anxiety – five months after the death of her pet dog and two years after her husband left her.

In the weeks before her death, she was being helped by a crisis team attached to the Carleton Clinic in Carlisle.

Psychotherapist Dr Hilary Russell first saw Mrs Page in 2012. Describing the development of her depression, she said the loss of her mother when she was just three had left Mrs Page vulnerable to depression and loss.

She said: “A particular turning point was attending a friend’s wedding. She was the only one there who was single.”

But in June that year a chance encounter with a friend led to her realising she was depressed and she sought help.

Retired QEGS geography teacher Kathleen Smith visited Mrs Page after she failed to turned up for a walk as agreed on January 2. She said: “I knew there was a problem so I went round and expected to find her in a terrible state. She wasn’t. She had make-up on, jewellery, and was well-dressed. She was clearly upset but in control. We just sat and talked, had coffee and biscuits.”

The alarm was raised after staff from the community psychiatric team were unable to contact Mrs Page on January 12. Miss Burton and another friend Clare Smith were out on the fell looking for Mrs Page when her body was found.

Coroner David Roberts said he was satisfied Mrs Page drove to Castle Carrock before walking to the fell where she died.

“I am satisfied she wanted to end her life,” he said.

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