Former Pittwater House teacher Ashley Wren dies weeks after birth of his daughter

Friends and strangers have rallied behind the family of a former Sydney teacher, whose sudden death on Friday came only a month after the premature birth of his daughter in Fiji.

Ashley Wren, who grew up on the northern beaches and taught at private school Pittwater House before moving to Port Macquarie, died suddenly, aged 41.

Only 11 days earlier, he had returned to Australia with his wife Jayne and their new daughter, Maddison, who was born seven weeks early while the couple were at a wedding in Fiji.

A web page that had been set up to raise money for Maddison’s medical care overseas has been updated to say Mr Wren died of a heart attack, and has become a place of refuge for his friends, the families of his former pupils and for strangers touched by the story.

Pittwater House, where Mr Wren taught in the junior school, said Mr Wren was a dear friend.

"Ashley was such a vibrant member of the junior school staff, whose huge smile and positivity touched us all," the school said.

"Ashley’s passing is beyond all comprehension, especially when only a few weeks ago we were celebrating the joyous birth of his precious baby girl, Maddison, and supported Ashley and Jay’s [Jayne’s] plight to bring Maddi safely back home from Fiji."

On the My Cause Site, people left tributes to Mr Wren and offered further financial support for his wife and daughter.

"To such a wonderful man who made such a difference to the lives of those fortunate enough to have known him ... you will be sadly missed Ash but never forgotten," Sophie Dutfield wrote.

Another poster said Mr Wren had taught her daughter in year 1 and had been "wonderful".

Even strangers have donated to the family.

"What an incredibly heart wrenching story. When I read about it on the Northern Beaches BuySellSwap page I couldn’t help but become involved," one supporter wrote, donating $50. "I am so sorry for your loss."

The site said that only two hours before his death, Mr Wren had been in the process of applying for a life insurance policy.

Supporters had donated more than $20,000 towards Maddison’s medical costs but that figure has reached more than $30,000 since Mr Wren's death.

Mr Wren was a teacher at St Columba Anglican School and a keen triathlete. The Port Macquarie Triathlon Club said it would stage events to raise money for the family.

"From his friends and training partners in the club, we want to show our support to his wife and baby," vice-president Jo Pilgrim said.

"We want her to know she is not on her own - there are people here to support her."

Port Macquarie News

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