Family's heartbreak at death of much-loved headteacher from Wigan

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Family and friends of a popular headteacher from Wigan have been devastated by her sudden death.

Catherine Morris, 54, from Winstanley, fell ill at home and, after being told that there would be a 40-minute wait for an ambulance, she was rushed to hospital by her husband and eldest son.

Staff in the intensive care unit at Wigan Infirmary did everything they could, but she died on Tuesday last week.

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At the time of her death, Catherine was in charge at Holy Rosary School at Aintree.

Catherine MorrisCatherine Morris
Catherine Morris
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Staff, parents and children were shocked to hear the news and the school will be closed for the day to allow as many people as possible to attend her funeral.

Catherine began her teaching career at English Martyrs in Litherland, before she went to Holy Rosary as deputy headteacher.

She received another promotion to become headteacher at St Julie’s, Eccleston, before returning to Holy Rosary as headteacher.

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She was also a governor at De la Salle and worked extensively on various projects within the Liverpool Archdiocese.

As a young girl, she attended St Cuthbert’s School, Pemberton, before moving to St Thomas More, where she became head girl.

She then spent two years at St John Rigby College before starting her teaching degree in Liverpool.

Her family said they had been overwhelmed by messages of support from many people who met her during those early days.

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She loved being a teacher and managed to balance a very challenging, busy career with her family life.

Catherine enjoyed holidays, going to the theatre, shopping, spending time with her friends, attending concerts and many other activities.

But above all else, she loved her family – husband Paul, eldest son Joe and younger son Robert.

Paul and Catherine spent hours driving the boys to practice sessions for various activities.

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Both boys played for Wigan Youth Orchestra and Wigan Youth Brass Band, and Robert had recently joined his brother at Liverpool Philharmonic Youth.

Robert is also a junior member at Wigan Little Theatre and Catherine was thrilled when he met the then-Prince Charles during a royal visit there.

One of Catherine’s proudest days was when Joe played with Wigan Youth Brass Band at the Royal Albert Hall.

Only a few days before Catherine fell ill, she celebrated Robert’s excellent GCSE results.

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Another day she would never forget was when she attended the 2013 FA Cup Final with her extended family.

She loved supporting her home-town team and the family was touched to receive a call from Mal Brannigan, chief executive of Wigan Athletic, a few days after she died.

The family say they have been touched by the outpouring of love and affection they have received.

They particularly wanted to thank Fr John Causey, Canon Pat MacNally, Gary Jones and all the NHS staff who tried to save her.

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Catherine died just weeks after the sudden death of her brother Andrew, making it a double tragedy for their family and friends.

A funeral will be held on Wednesday, September 21, with a requiem mass at noon at St Aidan’s Church, Winstanley, followed by a service at Wigan Crematorium.

Her family has asked for any donations in her memory to be given to Joseph’s Goal.

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