A DEVASTATED mother yesterday paid tribute to her sports-mad daughter who died in a diving accident in Ireland.
Former Accrington woman Heather Schofield, 25, was taking part in an organised dive off the coast of Dingle, County Kerry.
She was paired up with another diver who surfaced after 20 minutes after falling ill.
Heather did not return to the surface and it was thought she had stayed below with three other divers.
When they returned a search was carried out and her body was pulled from the water.
She was flown back to England on Wednesday and the Coroner has been informed.
A probe has been launched by Irish police who have taken away her diving equipment for technical examination.
The fun-loving geography teacher was enjoying a holiday with her mum Mrs Myra Schofield.
Mrs Schofield, of Painter Wood, Billington, who ran the Prospect House Nursing Home in Accrington for 16 years, said: "Heather was having a lovely holiday. When we got there, one of the first things she did was book a dive. She loved anything that involved personal fitness."
Heather was a member of the Stonyhurst College Swimming Club and took up diving 12 months ago.
Blackburn Rovers fan Heather was born and bred in Accrington and used to live in Whalley Road. She attended Westholme School before taking a geography degree at St Martin's College in Lancaster.
She taught at Gawthorpe High School in Padiham before moving to Moorland High School in Clitheroe.
Mrs Schofield said: "She loved life and we found it difficult getting hold of her as she was always doing something. She was a daughter to be proud of."
Apart from swimming, she also enjoyed tennis, and worked as a steward at Wimbledon for three years and the US Open at Flushing Meadows for two years. Heather was also president of the Ribble Valley Rotaract Club and helped raise thousands of pounds for various charities.
When she was young, she helped out with the Rainbows and Brownies at St John's Church in Accrington.
She also leaves her dad Brian Schofield, who still lives in Accrington.