Memorial bench is a lasting legacy for much-loved Wigan school cleaner

Lynne Newton
Lynne Newton

A new bench where pupils can spend time with friends has been described as a “fitting tribute” for a much-loved school cleaner.

Lynne Newton, who spent 10 years working at Canon Sharples CE Primary School, died in September after a battle with stomach cancer, aged 61.

Pupils from Year Six with teachers Hannah Davies, left, and Diane Rimmer, right, who is also sister of the late Lynne Newton

Pupils from Year Six with teachers Hannah Davies, left, and Diane Rimmer, right, who is also sister of the late Lynne Newton

Family and friends were asked to make donations at her funeral, rather than buying flowers, so a bench could be bought in her memory.

The “buddy bench” has now been placed in the school’s playground for key stage two pupils.

Children can sit there if they are upset or want someone to talk to and another pupil will join them.

Engravings on the bench state it is “in loving memory” of Mrs Newton and it bears the phrase, “You’ve got a friend in me.”

Headteacher Jennifer Woodcock said: “Mrs Newton was a thoughtful, caring person and a friend to all.

“It was important to her that everyone was happy.

“In her memory, her family have donated a beautiful ‘buddy bench’ to school which gives children a space where they may sit and chat with friends.

“The buddy bench is a fitting tribute as it will help foster friendships on the playground, something that was very close to her heart.

“Mrs Newton was very highly thought of by staff and children alike and will be remembered fondly.”

Mrs Newton’s husband Anthony decided to get a memorial bench with her two sisters, Janice Seddon and Diane Rimmer, who is a teacher at the school.

He said his wife was “quite reserved and unassuming” and would be “overwhelmed” by the memorial

bench.

Mr Newton, from Whelley, said: “Lynne would be somewhat overwhelmed by the bench which carries her name and the generosity of her family and friends who were very keen to support this idea and without each and every one who made a donation, this bench would not have been possible.”