THE headteacher of a seven-year-old Stourport girl who died over Christmas has paid tribute to the "kind, caring" youngster.

Nicole Murphy, seven, died on Sunday, December 28, after she became unwell and was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Burlish Park Primary School headteacher, Janet Bickerton, said: "The news of Nicole's death has shocked and saddened all of us at Burlish Park and our thoughts and prayers are with Nicole's family at this incredibly sad time.

"We all remember Nicole as a very beautiful, happy, bubbly, gorgeous girl who worked hard at school. The pupils in her year group have all said she was a lovely friend, always kind, caring and helpful to everyone.

"The whole school community, although deeply upset, is working together to support each other and thinking of ways we can remember Nicole's short but wonderful life."

Meanwhile, Shuttle online readers reacted to the news on our facebook page with heartfelt comments.

Sarah Short said: "Thoughts go out to her family. Such sad news" and Fay Smith commented: "Heartbreaking, thoughts are with her family."

Susan Beasley wrote: "Words fail me, I didn't personally know the family but such a shock to lose someone so young. RIP Nicole."

Emma Louise Beard commented: "Thoughts are with you all, family and friends" and Emma Norman added: "RIP Nicole, you were a lovely little girl when I looked after you at nursery."

Scarlett Hardiman said: "Can't imagine how the poor parents must be feeling, thoughts go out to them all." Diana Hood commented: "Our thoughts are with you all. RIP sweet little Nicole."

Diane Congrave wrote: "Heatbreaking."

An inquest into the death has been opened by the Worcestershire Coroner and the exact medical cause of the death has not yet been established.