THE family of a woman whose laughing and singing could be heard throughout Barnsley College thanked staff as a plaque was unveiled paying tribute to her.

The plaque, in memory of Vicki Austin who died in August, takes pride of place under a cherry tree planted in memory of a student - which Vicki loved seeing blossom every summer.

It was unveiled on Monday as friends and family gathered in the grounds. The college has also renamed its low stimulus room the Austin Room after the 52-year-old, who died of a suspected blood clot - something colleagues thought their friend would find funny, given she was one of the most ‘bubbly’ members of staff.

“Vicki was one of the most vibrant and bubbly people there is, and she always thought about other people more than herself,” said Nicola Thomson-Dewey who worked with Vicki for ten years.

“You could always hear her before you saw her - she was always giggling and laughing, and talking to students. She was just the life of the department.”

Vicki worked with young people who had learning disabilities at the college, and was also a volunteer with Mencap for two decades.

“She was just always so positive and outgoing,” added Nicola.

“Everybody loved her, and everybody across college knew of her - from reception, to estates, catering staff.

“And she absolutely adored working with our students.

“It was a real passion of hers to transform the lives of young people and adults with learning difficulties. So she’s a great loss to the community, as well, not just the college.”