Support offered to students and staff as school mourns death of 16-year-old pupil

St Wilfrid's RC College executive headteacher Brendan Tapping.
St Wilfrid's RC College executive headteacher Brendan Tapping.

A school in South Tyneside is reaching out to support students after the sudden death of a 16-year-old pupil.

Max Sowden, who was in Year 11 at St Wilfrid’s RC College, South Shields, died on Bank Holiday Monday.

Max Sowden, pictured aged 11, when he was head boy of St Mary's RC Primary in Jarrow.

Max Sowden, pictured aged 11, when he was head boy of St Mary's RC Primary in Jarrow.

As his school paid tribute to Max, its leaders said help would be at hand for any of its pupils need counselling as they come to terms with their loss.

Max lived with his grandmother and was a former pupil of St Mary’s RC Primary in Jarrow, where he was a head boy.

St Wilfrid’s executive headteacher Brendan Tapping released a statement which said: “It is with profound sadness that I write this statement informing you that Max Sowden, a much loved Year 11 student, passed away yesterday.

“Max was popular with both staff and pupils, he was a larger than life character and will be greatly missed.

Max was popular with both staff and pupils, he was a larger than life character and will be greatly missed.

Brendan Tapping

“Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very difficult time.

“We will be offering support services to all our students and staff during this week at school if required.”

He added that further information about a service and funeral for Max will be issued when details are available.

He concluded the statement with the Eternal Rest prayer.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At around 4.15pm on Monday afternoon, police received a report of concern for the welfare of a 16-year-old boy at an address in Jarrow.

“Emergency services attended, but sadly the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Specialist officers are supporting his family at this difficult time.

“There is not believed to have been any third party involvement in the death, and a report has now been prepared for the coroner.”

Details of Max’s funeral have yet to be released, but mourners will be invited to make a donation to the charity Young Lives For Mental Health.