RELATIVES of murdered Wigan schoolteacher Ann Maguire have launched an educational trust fund to help youngsters develop their artistic talents.
Last week a memorial was unveiled at the Mesnes Park pavilion for the 61-year-old who was killed in a classroom of a Leeds High School in April.
At the memorial ceremony, sister Denise Courtney invited borough residents to support the cause which will provide bursaries and funding for under 18s. The fund has already raised in excess of £45,000 with the help and support of pupils at Mrs Maguire’s school.
A statement from the family said: “We would like to thank everybody for their kindness during these recent difficult weeks. We are very grateful and appreciate the many expressions of sympathy and condolence we have received and for the support for the Ann Maguire Educational Fund.
“Ann had an incredible gift of identifying potential in her pupils, while giving them the encouragement and strength to help realise their goals.
“In her honour, the fund wishes to continue her work by enabling and developing the aspirations of young people.”
The fund is now open for its first applications and will help development of music, drama, language and dance education.
At the memorial ceremony relatives, friends and dignitaries, including deputy mayor Coun Susan Loudon, watched a montage of images and videos detailing Mrs Maguire’s love of music.
Denise said: “In her own mind she was not special, she was just a girl from Wigan, a teacher, doing her job to the best of her ability and she didn’t perhaps recognise her talents and how special she was. But that’s what made her so special. Ann would always go out of her way to help others and that is what this fund is about.”
The memorial plaque, which has been placed on the wall of the park pavilion because in her youth Mrs Maguire worked in the ice cream parlour there, reads: “May her goodness, kindness and generosity of spirit continue to be an inspiration to us all, and may her memory never be forgotten.”
To donate to the fund or for more details on how to apply, visit http://www.annmaguire.org/