A 'DEVASTATED' community has paid tribute to an Oxford teacher who died alongside her husband in a horrific crash.

Chris Naylor, 58, and Susanna Naylor, of West Oxfordshire, were among three Britons killed when a car they were travelling in plunged from a bridge into a river in South Africa.

Mrs Naylor, 54, was head of science at Christ Church Cathedral School in Oxford, and it is understood that the couple leave behind three grown-up children.

Her husband, to whom she had been married for 32 years, has been described as a nature lover who was highly respected for his Christian charity work.

The collision happened on Monday afternoon on the Swartkops Bridge near Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape Province.

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Richard Murray, headmaster of the school where Mrs Naylor worked, said: "The Christ Church Cathedral School community is devastated by the death of Mrs Naylor.

"Whilst she had only been with us for six and a half weeks, she was already a hugely valued member of staff and was an exceptional teacher of science.

"Her wonderful sense of calm and poise ensured that her lessons were models of productivity, while her warmth and focus upon the individuals in her class meant that all the pupils knew that she cared for them and their achievements.

"We feel immensely privileged that she taught here and she will be sorely missed. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family."

Miranda Harris, 66, from Wiltshire, also died in the crash, while her husband Peter Harris, 67, survived with injuries alongside the driver of the car.

It is thought that the car fell from the bridge after it collided with another vehicle on the N2 motorway in Bluewater Bay, on South Africa's southern coast.

The two couples were in the country on a work trip with Christian charity A Rocha, founded by Mr and Mrs Harris in the early 1980s.

Mr Naylor, who was executive director of A Rocha International, co-founded A Rocha Lebanon in 1996 with his wife, having both worked as teachers in the Middle East.

Rev Dave Bookless, director of theology at A Rocha, said: "The death of Chris, Miranda and Susanna leaves a huge and irreplaceable hole in our lives and our organisation."

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Mrs Naylor's own social media profiles state that she is from Burford, and was a former pupil at Henry Box School in Witney.

She studied at Oxford University and Oxford Brookes and taught for several years at a prep school in Gloucestershire, before joining Christ Church Cathedral School in the city centre in September.

Joel Callow, her younger brother, said: "The family are truly grateful to Christ Church for making Susanna’s final working weeks so happy and fulfilling.

"She was delighted with her new job and was welcomed into a warm school community with open arms.

"This is a great comfort at a difficult time."

The independent prep school's pupils, staff and parents remembered Mrs Naylor in a special service at Christ Church Cathedral yesterday, attended by the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy.

Rev Dr Percy said: "Everybody at Christ Church is devastated by the sudden, tragic loss of Susanna and her husband Chris, and Miranda, who was killed in the same accident.

"Susanna had only been teaching at the Cathedral School a short time, but had already made a great impact on all the pupils and had quickly become a much cherished and greatly valued member of staff.

"Our hearts go out to family, friends and colleagues who have lost such a wonderful woman, mother and fine teacher."

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The service opened with everyone singing Abide with Me, followed by a Bible reading from head boy, Archie.

The chaplain, the Revd Philippa White, said prayers and the choristers sang Howard Goodall’s setting of The Lord is my Shepherd.

Headmaster Mr Murray then paid tribute to Mrs Naylor, describing her as 'the sort of person we should all aspire to be.'

His tribute added: "The best teachers are those who are in teaching because they care about what happens to their pupils, who wish to make a difference to those they teach and whose love for their subject affects everyone.

"All of these things could be said about Mrs Naylor, and we are all very privileged to have known her."

A Rocha shared a post on Facebook yesterday thanking supporters for the 'outpouring of love' following the 'tragic loss', and announced that it had created a blog page especially for tributes to the three friends.

One tribute posted on the page, from A Rocha Lebanon, said Mr and Mrs Naylor lived in Lebanon for 17 years.

It described Mr Naylor as someone who was knowledgeable about birds and 'in love with nature'.

It has been reported that the couples had been on their way to an airport to fly back to England, at the time of the fatal crash.

Passersby were pictured wading into the river to try to rescue them from the submerged wreckage.

The Foreign Office said it is supporting their families and is in contact with the South African authorities.