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The class act who touched so many lives

Ann Maguire Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Ann Maguire Picture: Ross Parry Agency

wife, mother, teacher and friend – Ann Maguire was all of those things and more.

The Spanish teacher touched the lives of generations of families who passed through her classroom doors.

The mother-of-two inspired hundreds of pupils over the last four decades to reach their dreams during her teaching career at Corpus Christi Catholic College, in Leeds.

The 61-year-old, who was the head of year 11 at the school for more than 10 years, was preparing to retire in just five months – and was working four days a week.

It was the school where she had first ventured into the classroom as a student teacher more than 40 years ago.

Mrs Maguire lived in the Moortown area of Leeds with 
her husband Donald, who is believed to be a retired maths teacher. The couple are understood to have two grown-up daughters.

One of Mrs Maguire’s daughters is Emma Maguire, who has been a member of the Royal Ballet since 2002. She entered the Royal Ballet School at the age of 11 and was promoted to soloist in 2011.

Mrs Maguire’s other daughter, Kerry, also used to be a ballerina but now works as an osteopath.

Pupils past and present, continued to venture from miles around to lay hundreds of colourful bouquets at the gates of college yesterday.

They wept outside the school as they struggled to come to terms with Mrs Maguire’s shocking death.

And nuns from a nearby convent comforted them as they congregated united in grief.

Generations of families took time out from their daily schedules to pay their respects to the dedicated teacher who had touched their lives.

Former pupil Kerrianne Ayward, 17, said: “She was just lovely. She was helpful and caring and you could have a laugh with her.

“She was always there for you, even if she didn’t know you very well. No-one had a bad word for her – I mean no-one.”

Kerrianne, who left the school two years ago, added: “She was the heart of the school.”

Nearly 1,000 colourful bouquets thanking Mrs Maguire had been left outside the school gates by yesterday afternoon.

Pupils even used their school ties to attach special messages to the railings and left candles and cuddly toys in her memory.

The touching tributes included one that said: “I remember your first year at Corpus Christi and you said you wanted to make a difference.

“You have made such a difference to countless students, including me and my own children.

“God bless, The Hurley family.”

Another floral tribute left outside the east Leeds school read: “You were a true 
inspiration to all of us, making our year 11 experience truly amazing, you taught us things we will never forget. From Georgia and Hollie.”

Former pupil Kathleen Walpole said: “It’s still hard to take in what’s happened to the school and to Ann Maguire. It’s just a devastating situation.”

Mrs Walpole said her four children also attended the school and her husband was a governor for 10 years.

“Shock and devastation,” she said. “They’re the only words everybody uses.

“Corpus is the sort of school that will go on and they will support each other. They’ll just support each other and be there as much as people want to talk.”

Claudia John, whose daughter attended the same school as Mrs Maguire’s daughters, said: “She was a lovely woman, she devoted herself to teaching and to children.

“I’m still speechless, I can’t explain how I feel and can’t believe that this is the way she went.”

 

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