Glasgow & West Scotland

Charity set up for teacher killed in Glasgow sledging accident

Maryam Najafian
Image caption The Maryam Najafian Foundation has been set up to help children in poverty

The family of a schoolteacher who died after a sledging accident are setting up a charity in her name.

Maryam Najafian, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, was seriously hurt in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, last month.

The 25-year-old, who was a teacher at Lanark Primary School, was taken to the Western Infirmary and later died in the Southern General Hospital.

The Maryam Najafian Foundation has been set up to help children in poverty.

Ms Najafian's fiancé Andrew Duncan, 28, told BBC Scotland the charity was a tribute to her own dedication to improving the lives of children and it "gives us all something to fight for".

He said: "Maryam devoted her life to children. She was an incredible teacher and the family and I have decided to start this charity to try and raise money for children to try and bring some happiness to them.

Image caption Andrew Duncan said his fiancee wanted to live her life to the full and have as much fun as possible

"We just want to raise as much money as we can and we know that would be something Maryam would be proud of.

"She just had a real way with children that I've never really seen before and it breaks my heart because she would have been an amazing mum but she will have improved a lot of children's lives."

The couple had recently become engaged.

'The happiest person'

Mr Duncan said the loss of his fiancée was the hardest thing he had ever had to go through.

"It's a bit of a rollercoaster at the moment to be honest," he said. "You have a few hours when you feel ok and then the slightest thing will remind me of her and it's really difficult.

"I know it's cliché but it really is just taking one day at a time. I don't want to make any rash decisions about my life."

Image caption Mr Duncan and Ms Najafian's brother Reza say life will never be the same again

Mr Duncan added: "The family have been absolutely phenomenal. I think having each other there is getting everyone through. We're all going through the same thing, so it's just really taking things slow.

"There is not a second of the day goes by I'm not thinking about her but the charity gives us all a little bit of something to fight for."

Maryam's brother Reza Najafian said: "Out of something so tragic we wanted something good to come out of it. We are a positive family and Andrew is part of our family as well now.

"With Maryam being a school teacher the obvious cause would be to benefit schoolchildren. Ideally we want to help children in poverty at home and abroad."

'Beautiful inside and out'

The foundation's logo is an apple.

Mr Najafian said: "The reason for that is my sister was a primary school teacher. She used to take a piece and an apple and often a wee sweetie in for one of the children who was sent to school with no piece every day.

"That's 2015 in Scotland. That's really unacceptable."

Image caption Maryam's family hope money raised will help children in Scotland and further afield

Mr Najafian added: "Life will never be the same unfortunately and I think we're using this as well to perhaps help us help others, in order that Maryam's good spirit and cheer is spread to others and she's not died in vain I suppose."

Ms Najafian had three brothers.

"As a sister she was absolutely delightful," Mr Najafian said. "She ruled the roost and was the apple of everyone's eye.

"She was exceptionally cheery, full of life and she was exceptionally beautiful inside and out and really would do anything to help anyone."

Mr Duncan also paid tribute to his fiancee's enthusiasm for life.

He said: "Maryam always just wanted to live her life to the full and have as much fun as she could. She was the happiest person. She just jumped on a sledge and things went wrong very quickly.

"It was undoubtedly the hardest thing any of us have ever had to go through."

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