THE headteacher of a Bournemouth school has paid tribute to a former “model student” who died after she was ‘crushed’ outside a busy Durham nightclub.

Olivia Burt, 20, became trapped after a barrier toppled as students queued to get into the Missoula bar in the city centre shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

Despite desperate attempts made by doormen to resuscitate her, she died at the scene.

Miss Burt, from Milford-on-Sea, had only joined Durham University in October and was studying natural sciences.

She was a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls and an accomplished sailor, having been part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships.

Paying tribute, Alistair Brien, headteacher at Bournemouth School for Girls, said: “The BSG community is both shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic news.

“Olivia was a model student in every way.

“As well as excelling academically, she made an immense contribution to the wider life of our school.

“In particular she carried out her role of head girl with distinction and was also a talented sailor.

“We will all remember her with enormous pride and affection.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Meanwhile, former schoolmate Megan Stone said: “She was the most genuine and loveliest person with a heart of gold.”

She also posted on Facebook: “Another fellow bsg’ian gone too soon, speechless.

“What a lovely girl that will always be remembered. Sending love to all her friends and family.”

Eddie Cuttelle said: “I wasn’t particularly close to Olivia, but she was part of the BSG sixth form family and I’m sure every one of us are very upset to have lost such a wonderful girl.”

She also posted on Facebook: “Heartbroken that we lost our brilliant and clever head girl. Olivia was so kind to me when I arrived at BSG not knowing anyone from the area ... RIP”

Lymington Town Sailing Club posted: “We are devastated to hear news of the death of Olivia Burt. A talented young Laser sailor who was always smiling around the club. Our thoughts are with her family at this terrible time.”

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) paid tribute to the sailor.

Chris Atherton, its senior high performance manager, said: “The RYA is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident.

“As a popular and committed Junior Optimist squad sailor, Olivia Burt exhibited all the drive, determination and good sportsmanship required to progress as a successful Laser competitor.

“Olivia’s passion for sailing always shone through and all those who knew her in the sailing community will miss her tremendously; she was both a likeable and fair competitor.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Olivia at this sad time.”

Durham Police have launched a joint investigation into the incident with Durham County Council.