A SCHOOL teacher has died of a brain tumour just two weeks after going to the doctor with earache.

Paul Metcalfe, 49, a long-serving teacher at White Ash School, Oswaldtwistle, told family he had a sinus problem.

But he was suffering from a brain tumour and cancer in his spine and he died in Royal Preston Hospital.

Today his headteacher at White Ash, Phillipa Conti, paid tribute to "a colleague and a friend."

She said: "He had complained of a few headaches but he didn't think there was anything wrong.

"It was such a shock.

"Paul was a very talented teacher and very popular with the pupils and staff, he will be greatly missed."

Mr Metcalfe, of Eliza Street, Burnley, had taught at the special school, in Thwaites Road, which takes in children from throughout East Lancashire for the past 20 years.

He was also a trained nurse and had worked at Burnley General Hospital in the past.

Mrs Conti added: "His loves were literature and poetry. He was also a music lover with very eclectic tastes, from classical to Leonard Cohen and Kylie to the Jam."

Mr Metcalfe's sister, Carol Clark, 64, of Surrey Avenue, Burnley, said her brother was a very quiet and private person.

She said: "He had been poorly for a bit before, but he kept it quiet. We knew he had been to the hospital, but he told my sister Margaret that it was just a sinus problem. I think he just didn't want to upset us that was how he was.

"At school he was a brilliant student and he went on to study at Manchester University.

"He was a very caring person and he loved those children at White Ash. He will be very sadly missed."

Mrs Clark added that the former Ivy Bank School pupil also lived for his two Springer Spaniels, Sugar and Spice, and his three horses, which he kept in Worsthorne.

White Ash School is planning a permanent memorial to Mr Metcalfe.

His funeral took place on Friday at Burnley Crematorium and was filled with family, friends and pupils from his school.