Tributes have been paid to a much-loved maths teacher after a body believed to be hers was discovered in the Thames in Marlow on Monday almost two weeks after her mysterious disappearance.

Ruth Smith, 55, taught at St Edwards Ecunemical Middle School in Windsor for more than a decade.

This week the school’s headteacher Rod Welsh described her as a “gifted and popular maths teacher with a winning smile, strong sense of humour and a deeply caring nature”.

He said: “Ruth regularly volunteered to help with school events, residential trips and even involved her sons with helping at Sports Day.

“She ran extra maths sessions for pupils and parent workshops after school.

“Energetic, enthusiastic and with a great sense of fun, Ruth was passionate about her work and always wanted to do the best she could for the students in her care. We miss her very much.”

Mrs Smith, a mother of two who lived in Windsor, was last seen near St Peter’s Street, Marlow, on April 25.

Her disappearance sparked a major search with police appealing for public help.

At around 5pm on Monday this week - 12 days after she was last seen - the force received a call from a member of the Bucks Search and Rescue team after they discovered a body of a woman in the River Thames in Bisham Road after an ongoing search.

Her family was informed and a file prepared for the coroner.

Parent Dawn Smith, whose daughter Mairead, now 20, studied at St Edward’s under Mrs Smith, said: “She was a wonderful teacher. My daughter absolutely loved her. She really helped her. 

“She touched the lives of so many children. She was so approachable.”

Mr Welsh said the school’s strong sense of community had seen pupils and staff pulling together to deal with feelings of grief and loss.

He said: “We have been in close contact with Ruth’s family and have received already a number of messages of support and affection for Ruth from former staff, parents and friends of the school.

“We will be collecting thoughts and prayers from well-wishers through a ‘Celebration of Life’ book as well as other tributes to Ruth and expect to provide further details to the school community shortly.”