Tributes have been paid to a “happy, caring and kind” teaching assistant and aspiring teacher following his unexplained death from poisoning.
Ben Hines, 31, of Brockdish, leaves “family, friends and the community with many happy memories”, according to his mother Teresa, following his death on August 21 last year.
An inquest into his death was held last Friday.
Mr Hines was a teaching assistant at Brockdish Primary School and was in training to become a primary school teacher.
Ms Hines said: “Ben enjoyed travelling, music, playing guitar, art and had a passion for photography.
“Me and his sister Anna will miss him strumming his guitar, taking pictures of us around the house, and his nice ways generally. He always shared a joke and had a good sense of humour.
“He had a very creative nature, was always doodling cartoons and characters and doing drawings.”
Ms Hines said the night before Ben died he performed a gig with some friends at the Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary.
His photography skills were demonstrated when he did promotional work for Sony, and he was delighted when his photographs of the late Amy Winehouse were published.
A statement from Brockdish Primary School said: “Ben the colleague was simply the best, he had a wonderful sense of humour and showed empathy and caring towards us all.
“We were lucky enough to watch him blossom as an educator and it was always the hope of the school that he would return to us in a teaching role.”
He went to Brockdish Primary as a child, then on to Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston and finally Diss High School’s sixth form.
Ben graduated in 2004 from the UEA in Norwich with an MA degree and moved to London where he worked at the Bankside Art Gallery whilst attending the London Academy of Radio, Films and TV where he gained a diploma.
In 2005 he moved to San Francisco attending the state university where he studied digital media and entertainment.
He planned to return in the future.
Assistant coroner David Osborne recorded a narrative verdict in Norwich Coroner’s Court last Friday, which stated: “He was taken by emergency services to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where, tragically, despite earlier resuscitation attempts, he was declared deceased.
“Toxicology has confirmed cause of death as taxine alkaloid ingestion.
“It is not known how Benjamin came to be poisoned.”
Mr Osborne added: “There is absolutely no evidence that it was intentional”.