THE family and friends of "kind" and "lovely" Paul Bagnall, the Darrick Wood School pupil who died this week, have paid tribute.

Paul, of Dryland Avenue, Orpington, was found dead at his home on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old, a talented rugby player and black-belt in karate, was studying for his A levels.

He was a straight A student with a gift for maths and physics, and had been offered a place at Southampton university to study mechanical engineering.

His death is understood to be by hanging.

Father Nick Bagnall, 57, told News Shopper: "Paul was kind and patient, he had a lovely sense of humour.

"He brought a lot of joy into a lot of people's lives.

"He was not tremendously co-ordinated but he still stuck through to get a black belt in karate. He was a good rugby player as well.

"He always had a smile on his face and he always put a smile on other people's faces.

"He had a lot to look forward to, he was going off to university."

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Friend Matt Hall, 19, was a member of Orpington's Kaigaishii Karate Association with Paul and knew him for five years.

He said: "He was a very happy person. I don't think I ever saw him down or upset.

"He was talkative. He was kind and would always help others.

"It has been very hard. Everyone was very shocked.

"It has come out of the blue. We refused to believe it until his parents called us up."

Jack McDonald, 17, another member of the club, added: "It came as a shock to us all.

"When I heard the news, I thought it was some kind of sick joke, but when I learned the truth, I was speechless.

"Paul was a dear friend to me and to all of us - he helped everyone at karate to have a laugh and become the best they could be.

"He will be missed by everyone."

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Barbara Rhymaun, head teacher of Orpington's Darrick Wood School, said: "Paul was an exceptional student who was very popular amongst staff and students alike".

"He was a very able student on target to achieve A* grades at A level.

"He was a naturally gifted mathematician and physicist with university offers to study Engineering.

"He was fully committed to every aspect of school life, playing rugby for the 1st XV and was a valued school prefect.

"Paul also participated in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme and was set to complete his Gold Award. 

"I am sure you can imagine that Paul’s parents and all members of his family are very upset at this tragic turn of events and I know that the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Darrick Wood School are with them at this difficult time.

"We shall miss him greatly."

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "We were called at 3.55pm on January 7 to Dryland Avenue.

"A London Air Ambulance crew, an ambulance crew, two single responders and a duty officer were sent to the scene.

"Extensive efforts were made to resuscitate a man in cardiac arrest.

"Sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene."

Police say Paul’s death is not being treated as suspicious.

Did you know Paul? Leave your tributes below, call 01689 885 711 or e-mail