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Tributes for Anna Gratzkowski after former Norton Knatchbull pupil found dead in Ashford

A teenager found dead in parkland following a week-long search has been described as an “inspiration” who had a “beautiful smile and boundless energy”.

Anna Gratzkowski, 19, was last seen in Ashford on Saturday, August 8, sparking a missing person appeal.

Anna Gratzkowski was last seen on Saturday, August 8, sparking a police search
Anna Gratzkowski was last seen on Saturday, August 8, sparking a police search

But a week later – just after 4pm on Saturday – officers were called to parkland near her home in Godinton where her body was found.

The former Folkestone School for Girls pupil had attended the Norton Knatchbull sixth form between 2017 and 2019.

Ben Greene, head teacher at the Hythe Road site, says the school is in “shock at the weekend’s desperately tragic news”.

He said Anna’s death will be “keenly felt” by those who knew, taught and studied with her.

In a statement compiled by Mr Greene’s colleagues, they said she was a “charming and friendly student”.

Anna was made president of the Norton Knatchbull Interact Club
Anna was made president of the Norton Knatchbull Interact Club

“Anna threw herself wholeheartedly into sixth form life at our school from the outset, joining the LiNKS [Ladies in Norton Knatchbull School] Society to promote female student participation in sports and other activities and also to support new students,” the statement read.

“She represented the school at parents and open evenings and other formal events.

“Anna then went on to become a school prefect and deputy house captain, working with lower school students.

“Most notably she will be remembered for all her contributions to the school and wider community via her charity work for the school's Interact Club, working with the local Rotary Club.

“Her unswerving enthusiasm as participant and then president of this club ensured the success of many events and, whether it was waitressing to raise money for charity or helping to organise and staff a music event, she was always fully involved and a smiling, determined participant.”

Head teacher Ben Greene says the school is in shock
Head teacher Ben Greene says the school is in shock

Police say Anna’s death is not being treated as suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner.

She was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday afternoon and officers thanked all those who shared the appeal to find her.

In their statement, Knatchbull staff said they will mourn Anna’s passing and will remember her with “fondness and admiration”.

Anna giving a speech at the 2019 Interact Club music evening called 'Mozart to Modern'
Anna giving a speech at the 2019 Interact Club music evening called 'Mozart to Modern'

“Anna represented the school further by visiting Year 6 primary school children to promote the Interact Club and received special thanks and acknowledgement from Rotary,” they added.

“Anna’s fundraising activities were an inspiration to our younger students and she was heavily involved in many and numerous charitable activities undertaken by the school during her time with us, including cake sales, photograph competitions and the school pantomime.

“Colleagues’ abiding memories of Anna are her beautiful smile and boundless energy.

“She never sat still – especially when excited about one of her many projects and this was contagious.

“She was intelligent, polite, conversed easily with all ages and a much respected and helpful member of our sixth form student leadership team."

"We are devastated by her death"

Thanks to her work with the Rotary Club of Ashford, Anna was commended by the Rotary national president for her efforts while she was president of Knatchbull's Interact Club during 2018/19.

Paying tribute, Rotary Club member and former president Peter Gammon described Anna as a "lovely person".

"She got involved with things like 'Rotary Entertains', where we entertain the elderly and isolated," he said.

"We are devastated by her death; we will all miss her greatly.

"We feel for her parents and her whole family – our thoughts are with them."

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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