A PRIMARY teacher who died in a sledging accident has been described as a “shining light” by colleagues.
Maryam Najafian, 25, who taught P1 and P2 pupils at Lanark Primary, was taken to the Western Infirmary in Glasgow after being injured in nearby Kelvingrove Park on Sunday afternoon.
She was transferred to the city’s Southern General Hospital, which specialises in head injuries, but later died.
Paying tribute yesterday, Lanark Primary head Margaret Scott said Miss Najafian “was a young woman whose energy and love of life radiated from her”.
She said: “Maryam was a shining light in Lanark Primary. We are devastated with her loss and will miss her deeply in our school and in our lives. She was known and loved by all here as she involved herself so much in the life of the school.
“More than anything, Maryam was a dedicated teacher who did everything she could for the benefit of the children. Each and every child was special to her and she has left them with ever-lasting memories of her wonderful teaching.
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“Maryam was a highly respected teacher here in Lanark and in her previous post at David Livingstone Memorial Primary, Blantyre.”
South Lanarkshire Council, which runs the schools, said Ms Najafian had led Lanark Primary’s road safety committee and was a champion netballer who ran the school’s netball team.
The Educational Institute of Scotland, the main teaching union, tweeted: “We are saddened by the sudden passing of Lanark Primary teacher Maryam Najafian. Our condolences to family, friends, pupils and colleagues.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “A report on the circumstances surrounding the death of a 25-year-old woman following a sledging incident in Kelvingrove Park will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.
“Her death is not being treated as suspicious.”
In a separate incident on Sunday, a nine-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital after being injured in a sledging accident in the Fenwick area of Ayrshire at around 3pm. His condition is not known.
Ms Najafian’s death comes six years after a 16-year-old girl died in Yorkshire after an improvised sledge crashed through a wire fence at an estimated 60mph. Francesca Anobile, 16, was on an upturned Land Rover roof at the Rother Valley Country Park with four friends.
She was thrown off and died later from head injuries.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) said sledgers should take precautions, and helmets should be considered for children.
It said sledging should take place away from obstructions like trees, fences and rocks. It advised sledgers to walk up slopes to check for obstacles before getting on their sledges. Danger areas such as roads or waterways – frozen or not – should also be avoided. Sledgers should ensure there is plenty of room at the end of the run to slow and stop. Rospa said sledging headfirst should be avoided. It added: “Skateboard, cycle and ski helmets, and skateboard pads, double up well for sledging.”
Its spokesman added: “Going sledging is a fantastic way for children to experience the wintry weather. We’re just reminding them of some simple tips which should help them have fun while also staying safe.”
An Aberdeen Royal Infirmary study found one in ten children treated in A&E over a 16-day period during Christmas 2001-2 had suffered sledging injuries.
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