THE former school workmates of murdered learning support worker Maria Stewart have paid tribute to their much-loved colleague.

The 30-year-old mum-of-two had been working at Holmfirth High School with disabled children prior to her death.

Staff spoke at the time of her death of their shock and a permanent memorial has since been placed at the school.

Acting head teacher Gail Howe said: “A permanent stone memorial has been placed in the main entrance alongside a shrub.

“Her family attended a private service when it was laid in school grounds.”

The memorial stone reads: ‘Death brings a heartache that no one can ever heal,

But you can give us memories that no one can ever steal

Forever in our hearts’

Executive head Dr Andy Williams said: “Marie was extremely committed to her work in school and was a committed and caring person who will understandably be missed by those with whom she worked.”

Former colleagues Miriam Thomas, a special needs educational supervisor, and teaching assistant Dawn Bowers praised Marie.

Ms Thomas said:“Marie was a very pleasant person who was professional and good at her job. I knew she was going to fit in well with the team.”

Ms Bowers said: “She was very conscientious. She loved her job. She was very good at it. It was very demanding, physically and mentally.”

A FAMILY friend of murdered mum-of-two Marie Stewart has paid tribute to her family.

Steve Taylor, of Upperthong grew up in the same village as Marie and is a good friend of the Stewart family.

He said: “It’s one of those surreal things which happens to other people.

“For it to happen so close to home, as a parent it makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

“Marie was a lovely girl. Well mannered.

“She came from a good family background.

“Her dad was chairman of the Village Hall and her mum ran the local Rainbows as did Marie.

“They both did a lot of work in the community”.

Speaking of Marie’s two children he added: “The kids are doing well but it is expensive so as a community we want to ease the burden financially.

“If we can give them anything to help in what must be very strained circumstances we will.”