Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ann Maguire stabbing: Memorial service held in Leeds

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Media captionStudents queued for hours to attend Ann Maguire's memorial service, as Danny Savage reports

Tributes have been paid to a teacher who was stabbed to death in her classroom, at a memorial service attended by about 1,200 people.

Ann Maguire, 61, was attacked at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April.

A 16-year-old boy is due to go on trial later this year accused of her murder.

The service, which was held Leeds Town Hall, featured a minute's silence observed by schools across Leeds.

Mrs Maguire, who had two daughters - Emma and Kerry - and also raised her two nephews - Daniel and Andrew Poole - was a teacher at Corpus Christi for 40 years. She had been due to retire this year.

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Media captionAn excerpt from a letter to 'mum' by nephews Daniel and Andrew Poole

Daniel and Andrew - who Mrs Maguire brought up as her own sons after her sister Eileen's death from cancer in 1986 at 35 - paid their tribute in the form of a letter.

Addressing the congregation, Daniel said: "The reason we are here today is because Ann meant something special to all of us.

"Looking around at the number of people here it makes us realise and appreciate exactly how many people Ann influenced.

"It is a testament to her character that you are all here today in such numbers.

"She gave us all so much and we are all privileged to have her in our lives."

Andrew added: "You were a natural, wonderful mother and you nurtured and loved us us through every stage of our lives.

"I know that for every memory we have shared here today there will be thousands more from children all over Leeds ... all who are better for knowing you and all who are grateful for the shelter and comfort we found in your love and embrace.

"So Ann, we're here today to say we miss you, we're here to say we love you, but we really, really would like to say thank you, good night, God bless."

Image caption Hundreds of people have gathered at Leeds Town Hall for the memorial service
Image caption The service featured songs and readings chosen by Mrs Maguire's family

The service was led by Monsignor John Wilson who opened the ceremony by saying: "We unite in sharing one purpose, to honour and celebrate Ann's life and work."

Keith Wakefield, the leader of Leeds City Council, described Mrs Maguire as an "inspirational" person and paid tribute to her "wonderful contribution" to education in Leeds.

He said: "The legacy that she will provide us as public servants will be compassion, care and commitment for all those people in the community."

Judith Blake, the council's executive member for children and families said: "Ann was that citizen we all aspire to be, her life's work means her devotion and extraordinary talent will live in our hearts."

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Image caption Dozens of pupils from Corpus Christi Catholic College attended the service

A video of people who knew Mrs Maguire sharing their memories of her and saying how she affected their lives was shown during the service.

Tributes were also paid to Mrs Maguire by former colleagues.

One said: "Ann never believed she was in anyway special or different from thousands of other teachers but to colleagues and generations of Corpus Christi pupils she will remain very special indeed.

"Ann put her deep Christian faith in to practice in her work and in her life. To paraphrase the prophet Micah she did what the Lord asked of her."

Another said: "She was one of the very best and will be greatly missed."

Speaking after the service, Kerry Maguire said thank you on behalf of her family to "all those who have lent their support over the past months, those who have been involved in the preparation of today's service and all in attendance today".

Image caption A large number of people gathered outside the Town Hall to watch the service on a big screen
Image caption Police officers attending the memorial service at Leeds Town Hall wore ceremonial uniform

In an interview with the BBC on the eve of the memorial, her family described Mrs Maguire as a "beautiful, dedicated and hard-working individual".

Some 300 people attended Mrs Maguire's funeral mass in May.

Following her death on 28 April, flowers and messages pinned on the fences outside the school gates stretched for more than 100 metres.

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Media captionAnn Maguire's family have spoken for the first time about her death, as Danny Savage reports

A charity, The Ann Maguire Arts Educational Fund, has been set up in her memory by her family.

It has raised more than £25,000 to provide bursaries and funding for the personal development of people under 18 years of age.

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