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Body of drowned NT teacher found

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

The body of a Northern Territory teacher feared to have drowned while on a school excursion has been found at a popular swimming hole.

Paul Leggett went missing while swimming at the Ellery Creek Big Hole about 100km west of Alice Springs on Tuesday morning.

The 48-year-old Centralian Middle School teacher appeared to get a cramp and came into difficulty before failing to resurface.

At 4.20pm on Wednesday, police divers recovered his body from the water and notified his next of kin.

The Alice Springs community is mourning the loss of the devoted musician and sporting umpire.

The violinist had toured China, the US and the UK, and had played with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and Melbourne Opera.

Fellow Alice Springs-based singer-songwriter Barry Skipsey described Mr Leggett as a talented artist with "just a hint of eccentricity that only added to his bubbly, outgoing and generous personality".

"He had a beaming smile and an insatiable zest for music, to participate and to teach," Mr Skipsey said.

"From his middle school students, to his live music in local cafes, to the folk festivals and the high brow southern orchestras, he'll be sorely missed," he said.

Alice Springs Cricket Association vice president Robert Borgas also honoured Mr Leggett, saying the T20 finals this Saturday will have a sombre feel without his "iconic" umpiring.

"Paul was an extremely dedicated - almost fanatic - umpire of both cricket and AFL in Alice Springs. His enthusiasm for umpiring was unmatched here in this town," he said.

"Paul will be remembered by ASCA for the honesty, dedication and professionalism that he brought to the sport."

There were about 40 Year 8 and 9 students with Mr Leggett when he went missing at the swimming spot in the McDonnell Ranges.

The NT education department said counselling is being made available for students and staff for the remainder of the school term.

The swimming spot will remain closed until further notice.

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