TRIBUTES are flooding in for "true gentleman" and "inspiration" David Carter after he passed away yesterday.

Mr Carter, 41, was the headteacher at St Bartholomew's First School in Crewkerne, as well as a husband, father of four, and lively member of the community.

The school announced on social media that it was to close for two days "due to unforeseen circumstances", before later announcing Mr Carter had passed away (April 19).

Beryl Eeles, chair of governors and Gemma Coward, deputy head of St Bartholomew’s First School, said: “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of St Bartholomew’s First School’s Head Teacher, David Carter.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time. He was a highly respected colleague and friend, and will be sadly missed by all at the school community.”

A spokesman for the County Council added: "David was appointed as headteacher at St Bartholomew’s in 2013 and was a caring, committed and inspiring member of the wider community who was passionate about providing the best education for all school children.

"David leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and four children.

"The school will remain closed for the rest of the week, reopening on Monday 24 April, where support and counselling services will be available for all staff and children.

"The school’s senior leadership team will now be meeting tomorrow and a letter is planned to be issued to all parents/carers via the children on Monday.

"St Bartholomew’s Church is currently open to any member of the community who wishes to pay their respects."

Mr Carter was a local referee and member of a running club in Crewkerne.

All Perry Street games are set to have a minute of silence this weekend.

A spokesman for Perry Street Division said: "Following the sad news of the passing of PSDL referee Dave Carter this week all clubs are requested to observe a minutes silence this weekend.

"Dave was a much loved and respected father, referee and headteacher with connections throughout the PSDL community.

"We have already been contacted by several clubs and players wishing to do something to honour Dave's memory and support his wife and four children.

"We will work with Clubs and the Chard Referees Society with view to coming up with a fitting tribute to Dave."

The Rebel Runners club took to social media to pay tribute to Mr Carter.

Their statement said: "Rebel Runners are extremely sad to hear the news about Dave Carter.

"Dave was a true gentleman and will be sadly missed by everyone, his enthusiasm and determination in everything he did was an inspiration to everyone around him be it his running buddies, work friends, his pupils or football friends.

"Our thoughts are very much with his wife and family at this extremely sad time.

"As a club we will honour Dave’s memory in some way over the next couple of weeks. #RIPDave #OnceARebelAlwaysARebel xx."

David joined St Bartholomew's School in 2013 having previously spent six years as headteacher at Hinton St George CE First School.

He enjoyed sports, especially running, swimming and football, and he was an avid Bristol Rovers fan.