A primary school teacher who was due to start the new term as a woman after gender reassignment surgery has been found dead in her home in an apparent suicide.

Lucy Meadows, 32, was found dead on the eve of returning to St Mary Magdalen's School as a woman.

The school wrote to parents of pupils at Christmas to inform them that Nathan Upton would be returning to his Year 6 teaching role as Miss Meadows.

Headteacher Karen Hardman said bereavement teams would work with staff and pupils.

She said: "News of Lucy's death has come as a tremendous shock to everyone in the school. She was a greatly valued member of our staff and we send her family and friends our sympathy and prayers.

"We are working closely with the county council and the diocese to ensure we offer our pupils and staff the support they need.

"I would ask people to respect the privacy of everyone involved at this difficult time."

Lancashire Police said: "Police found the body of a 32-year-old woman. There are no suspicious circumstances and a file will be prepared and passed to the coroner."

Meadows' transition from male to female became national news after the Mail online published an opinion piece by Richard Littlejohn who raised questions about the effects of the sex change on pupils at the school.

The piece was taken offline following news of the death.

Trans Media Watch, a charity for transgender people, said: "We have been deeply saddened to hear of the death of Lucy Meadows, who was outed by the press when she decided to transition.

"We extend our deepest condolences to Lucy's family and friends."

A spokesman for the board of the school authority, the Blackburn Diocese Board of Education, said: "We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Lucy Meadows.

"Lucy was a valued and well-liked member of the team at St Mary Magdalen's and her loss will be felt deeply by everyone associated with the school. We would ask that the school is left in peace to allow that response to be managed as effectively as possible."

Read: Sack Richard Littlejohn Daily Mail 'Monster' Columnist, Petition Demands  

Lucy Meadows was a techer at St Mary Magdalen's School, in Accrington
Lucy Meadows was a teacher at St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington