Tributes paid to Westbourne fire victim

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FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to a young mother who died in a house fire at her Westbourne home.

Former Chichester High School for Girls pupil, Gemma Bishop, 29, died last Saturday following the blaze at her homer in Edgell Road.

Witnesses said Gemma cried out for help from the first-floor window as the smoke billowed around her.

Despite the heroic efforts of one man who rushed to Gemma’s aid, she died at the scene.

Another neighbour climbed in to a cherry picker to reach the first floor but his efforts were hampered by the smoke and heat.

A Facebook page set up to remember Gemma has seen tributes pouring in.

One comment from her family reads: ‘We would like to thank everyone for their lovely wishes. Gemma was loved and cared for so much by so many people. Just wished she believed it. Miss you so much its unbelievable.’

Friend Elaine Terry, said: ‘I shall never forget your giggle and the smiles you gave so generously.’

Tim Willway, assistant head teacher at Chichester High School for Girls also remembered the former pupil.

‘Gemma joined us in 1995 and was with us until 2000 when she left after taking her GCSEs.

‘Her form tutor described her as cheerful, outgoing and friendly. She was a really pleasant member of the form group, and particularly enjoyed and excelled in her drama lessons.

‘She related well to young children and worked well with them, having completed a work experience placement when she was at school.

‘Gemma gave us her best while she was at Chichester High School for Girls, and we are very sorry to hear the news.’

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the fire is not being treated as suspicious and a file has now been passed to the coroner.