Wigan headteacher pays tribute after death of popular staff member who was 'heart' of the school

A Wigan school community is in mourning after the death of a much-loved member of staff.
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Karen Prior has been described as the “heart” of Orrell Lamberhead Green Primary School and “truly one of a kind” following her sudden death on Sunday.

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She was a member of the school’s admin team and had served on the governing body.

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She is survived by her husband Stuart – who said she was his “soulmate and all-round best friend” – their children Joe, Will and Grace, and three grandchildren.

Headteacher Jane Chambers said: “It is with much sadness that I share the news that Mrs Karen Prior passed away last night.

“Mrs Prior was the heart of our school, and her loss will be felt greatly by every member of our Lamberhead Green family.

“Words can not express how important Mrs Prior was to us and how very much she is loved. Obviously, staff will need time to process this information and to grieve together.”

Karen Prior with husband StuartKaren Prior with husband Stuart
Karen Prior with husband Stuart
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She continued: “We send our thoughts and loving prayers to Mr Prior (who is also our Chair), to Joe, Will and Grace - Mrs Prior's children and past pupils of Lamberhead, and to Mrs Prior's three much-loved grandchildren. Karen leaves behind a hole that will be impossible to fill - she was truly one of a kind.”

Hundreds of people have paid their respects to Mrs Prior on social media after learning of the sad news.

A moving tribute to Mrs Prior was also paid on Facebook by her grieving husband Stuart.

He said: “It is with my deepest sadness I have to tell you that in the early hours of this morning my wife, my love, my soulmate and all round best friend Karen Prior sadly passed away. As a family we are truly devastated. We are all struggling to make any sense of our loss. Karen was loved by many and will leave the biggest void possible in our lives. My darling it's killing me writing this but until we meet again I send you all my love and look forward to the day we dance the night away once more.”

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Mrs Prior was also honoured by Wigan St Patrick’s ARLFC, where she was heavily involved with her family.

The club said: “Today are thoughts are with Open Age player Joe, his Dad Stuart and brother and sister Will and Grace who have suffered the devastating loss of their wonderful Mum and Wife Karen.

"Karen did so much for our club for so many years along with her soulmate Stuart, she had a heart of gold and always put others before herself. Karen you leave so many hearts broken but filled with love and wonderful memories that we will treasure forever.

"Karen your light will never dim.”

A statement from Heaven vs Hell Fitness in Pemberton said: “We are extremely saddened to hear the news about Karen Prior.

"Stu and Karen have been great friends to us over the years and fully supported us for many years. You was a great lady and will be sadly missed by all.”

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