Schoolchildren called her the “welcoming smile of Clifton,” while teachers praised her warm heart and infectious zest for life.
But when Clifton Primary School’s secretary, Anne Morton, sadly died of bowel cancer on Mother’s Day earlier this year, students knew they had to do something to honour her memory.
The much-loved 49-year-old, known for greeting children at the school gates every day come rain or shine, passed away after a long battle with the disease, prompting pupils and teachers to unite in helping to leave a lasting legacy at the Clitheroe Road school.
Headteacher Rachel Legge said: “Anne used to greet everyone with a huge smile and nothing was ever too much trouble. She was lovely.
“She battled bravely against cancer and it was a fight she thought she had won.
“But unfortunately, this was not the case and in March she passed away peacefully at Trinity Hospice in Blackpool.”
After holding a memorial service at the school, pupils approached Mrs Legge and asked if something could be done to remember Anne, and the idea of a memorial bench came about.
Mrs Legge said: “The Parent Teacher and Friends Association had a school bingo at Easter this year, which was a sell-out, while Year Six pupil Cameron Sneath did a sponsored mountain climb with his parents up Scafell Pike in the Lake District.
“He said he wanted to get as near to heaven as he could.
“He raised around £300 and although he is now at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College in St Annes, we invited him back to school to open the bench with Anne’s brother, Richard.”
Earlier this year, teachers took part in the Trinity 10K event in Blackpool, raising close to £4,000 for the charity in Anne’s memory.
Mrs Legge added: “I’m very, very proud of everyone. It sums up our school.”