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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 08:45 GMT
Girl, six, choked on school lunch
Shannon Hennessy
Friends said Shannon was "one of the loveliest girls you could know"
Emergency workers have described the frantic attempts to save a six-year-old girl who died after choking on her school lunch.

Shannon Louise Hennessey died after the incident at Redhill Infants School in Castleford, West Yorks, on Wednesday.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service said paramedics spent nine minutes at the school trying to help Shannon before she was taken to hospital.

West Yorkshire Police said school staff had earlier tried to revive her.

A force spokeswoman said: "Shannon was having her lunch in the dining room when she began to experience difficulties.

"Attempts were made by staff and then paramedics to resuscitate her but she was taken to Pontefract General Infirmary where she was pronounced dead.

"A post-mortem examination has revealed there were no suspicious circumstances. Inquiries are ongoing.

"Her family have asked for privacy at this time."

Redhill Infants School
The school was closed on Thursday as a mark of respect

Wakefield Council, which said it would co-operate with any investigation into the death, said the school would be closed on Thursday as a mark of respect.

Local residents said the tragedy was the second that staff and pupils at the school have had to endure this year.

In February, three-year-old Jack Summerscales, who had just started at Redhill nursery, died in a house fire with his mother and sister.

Shocked local people said Shannon died after she choked on a sausage while eating her school dinner.

One woman said her great-nephew was in the class when the incident happened.

She said he was terrified when he saw the girl shaking and then watched as paramedics arrived in the classroom.

It is a close community and there will be a great deal of shock about what has happened
Yvonne Crewe,
School governor

Yorkshire Ambulance Service Operations Director John Darley said paramedics spent nine minutes at the school trying to help Shannon before she was taken to hospital, where she died a short time later.

He said: "At 12.30pm yesterday afternoon Yorkshire Ambulance Service received a 999 call to a medical emergency at Redhill Infant School, Queens Park Drive, Castleford.

"An emergency ambulance and a rapid response vehicle were dispatched to the scene and arrived at the school simultaneously just four minutes later.

"After treating the patient, the emergency ambulance left the scene nine minutes later with all three members of the responding emergency ambulance team on board, taking the patient to Pontefract General Infirmary and arriving approximately eight minutes later."

'Great shock'

Local councillor and school governor Yvonne Crewe said: "It is so sad. I feel so much for the family.

"It is a close community and there will be a great deal of shock about what has happened.

"With the fire earlier in the year as well, it's such a terrible tragedy."

A friend speaking outside the school on Wednesday said: "She was one of the loveliest girls you could ever know.

"She was really lively and she loved everything. It has come as a shock to everyone. No one knows what to do."

Probe after death of schoolgirl
08 Nov 06 |  West Yorkshire

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