TRIBUTES have been paid to “inspirational” English teacher Barbara Smethurst, who has died aged 82.

Barbara, from Greenmount, taught English for over 20 years at Darul Uloom Islamic College in Holcombe where she was described as “captivating and motivating hundreds of students with her enthusiasm, ingenuity and sheer genius”.

Barbara, who passed away earlier this month, joined the school in the late 1980s, initially teaching students whose first language was not English, and eventually becoming head of English. She was the first teacher of another faith at the all-boys Muslim boarding school, and the only female member of staff.

Omair Aziz, a former student and current head of English at the school, said: “The students took to her immediately.

“Her commitment, dedication and enthusiasm were infectious, which naturally drove many of the boys to realise their un-tapped potential in English. Her character was firm yet gracious, pedantic but also imaginative, creative and noble. Her legacy will live on in the memories of her students and all whose lives she touched.”