Flowers left at the Abbey Gateway near Forbury Gardens in Reading Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flowers were left at the park gates on Sunday

Tributes have been paid to a “wonderfully talented and inspirational” teacher who was killed in the Reading stabbing attack.

James Furlong, head of history at Holt School in Wokingham, was described as “a very kind and gentle man” with “a real sense of duty”.

“He truly inspired everyone he taught,” wrote co-heads Anne Kennedy and Katie Pearce, in a letter to parents.

Mr Furlong was one of three people killed in the attack on Saturday.

Three other people were injured in the incident, which took place at about 19:00 BST.

Mr Furlong was in Reading’s Forbury Gardens, a park near the centre of town, when witnesses say a lone attacker with a knife targeted a group of people.

An eyewitness described how an individual in the park “suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went round a large group trying to stab them”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police have been carrying out investigations in Forbury Gardens

Khairi Saadallah, a 25-year-old man who lived locally, was arrested at the scene and remains in custody.

“As a Holt community, we all now need to absorb this sad news,” wrote Mrs Kennedy and Mrs Pearce on Sunday, in a letter to parents of children attending the school.

As head of history and government and politics, the letter singled out Mr Furlong’s “passion for his subject” and “his dedication”.

“He was determined that our students would develop a critical awareness of global issues and in doing so, become active citizens and have a voice,” the headteachers said.

The letter said lessons would be cancelled on Monday, with counsellors available at school for staff and students.

In addition, local church St Paul’s will be open for children “who wish to light a candle, say a prayer, or talk”.

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