Pupils and staff at schools across Bucks are mourning the loss of a "universally-loved" therapy dog.

Alfie the Labrador had worked as a therapy dog in schools across Bucks and Slough, including Princes Risborough School, Beaconsfield High and most recently Ryvers Primary School in Langley, since he was eight weeks old.

Executive head teacher at Ryvers, Pete Rowe, said Alfie was a lifeline for pupils: "Students and pupils could chat/cry with him, give him a hug, walk off their high emotions and generally soak in his quiet, never ending love.

"Special needs pupils were helped with their speech and language and gross and fine motor skills. He had worked since eight weeks old in schools and passed at the good age of thirteen and a half.

"In that time he interacted with around five thousand youngsters many of whom wrote him letters and cards and gave him gifts on his birthday and at Christmas."

In a tribute, Ryvers School said: "It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that Alfie has passed away last night.

"He was very old and was starting to struggle to walk and play. We will remember all the fun times he had.

"Yesterday we went to the vets who told us his illness was beginning to hurt him. So we decided that the best thing to do would be to help him not be in any pain.

"We sat with Alfie as the vets gradually put him to sleep. We don’t know where he will wake up but he passed on surrounded by love.

"Lots of us will be very sad today and for many days to come. That is absolutely ok – the upset shows just how much Alfie was loved.

"But remember, Alfie was all about bringing happiness, calmness and safety and he would want us all to remember him that way."

Parents have also been left devastated by Alfie's loss, with one telling Mr Rowe: "He was a wonderful dog with so much personality. I grew up with fear of dogs but my fear was completely gone after seeing Alfie around me everyday and on coffee mornings. I missed him during lockdown. We always talk about him at home."