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12 June 2012, 11:41
A 15-year-old schoolgirl who collapsed and died in front of fellow pupils suffered a rare heart condition, an inquest has heard.
Lily Webster, a Year 11 pupil at Stowmarket High School, was taking part in a trampolining session at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, a council run facility, in January when she collapsed. An ambulance was called but she was pronounced dead at the scene within an hour.
Today at an inquest in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk coroner Peter Dean said: "Her classmates saw her do some somersaults successfully but she then stopped. She put her hands to her head and said 'oh my God'."
First aiders and then paramedics were called amid fears she was suffering a seizure. Despite attempts to resuscitate her, she died at the leisure centre.
At first her death was a mystery and tests were carried out on her brain, heart and blood.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Mary Sheppard, from the Royal Brompton Hospital, later concluded Lily died as a result of sudden adult death syndrome - an unpredictable attack in people whose heart is structurally normal. The condition claims the lives of around 500 people in England each year, her report said.
The inquest heard Lily had recently seen a GP about feelings of tiredness. She had been diagnosed with an iron deficiency but had shown signs of improvement following treatment.
Mr Dean recorded a verdict that Lily died as a result of sudden adult death syndrome.
He said: "Our thoughts are very much with Lily's friends, family and all those close to her. I get the sense that she was highly regarded by all who knew her. This was a tragic loss."
Lily's parents, Richard and Melanie, did not attend the hearing but in a statement read to the inquest described her as a girl who made friends easily and loved life.
Speaking after her death, Stowmarket High School headteacher Keith Penn said the whole community was "shocked and deeply saddened'' by Lily's sudden death.
"Popular, active, bright and with a very wide circle of friends, Lily will be desperately missed by students and staff and all those who knew her,'' he added.