Ann Maguire murder: Floral tributes show generations of love for an inspirational teacher

If there was ever any doubt in the public mind that an inspirational teacher can touch generations of young lives in a unique and special way it was on display outside the gates of Corpus Christi Catholic College today.

The flowers, which had begun to be laid within an hour of the news of the tragedy of Ann Maguire’s death breaking, had by the end of the school day massed into a vast spontaneous memorial some 50m long.

It was a fitting tribute to a woman who saw her job as a vocation and who dedicated 40 years of professional life to the same community.

Pupils past and present, neighbourhood families, fellow catholic institutions from across the city and further field, and local charities all expressed their loss at the death of Mrs Maguire, who was stabbed while helping another child in the quiet routine of a school day just weeks away from a hard earned retirement.

“You helped shape the woman I have become. Your love, support and understanding made you not only an unbelievable teacher, but a good friend … I’ll remember you every time I hear a guitar and when I open my mouth to sing a Beatles tune,” wrote Emma Quinan.

“You always believed in me and took the time and effort to make sure I achieved the best I could. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it was not for you,” wrote Lucy Potter, one of the class of 2009.

 

The words “amazing person” who “always cared” “the mother of the school” were repeated again and again on the hundreds of cards jutting out of bunches of flowers or placed beneath toys or candles.

Some expressed themselves in Spanish, the language Mrs Maguire taught since joining the school four decades ago straight from college.

“Buen dios, bendita noche,” wrote one, “descanse en paz” another. Understandably not every pupil had turned up for school. Yet 700 had made the journey to be among their friends and teachers.

The previous night they had gathered in their hundreds outside the school on a balmy evening – answering the call of social media to show their respects. By the morning many arrived ashen faced, still weeping as the enormity of the tragedy within their midst became apparent and once more they had to brave the media phalanx encamped on the entrance.

The school day had begun with a service at Corpus Christi Church, a Romantine parish church rebuilt following a fire in the 1960s by the local community of Halton Moor, an inter-war housing estate for families following the city centre slum clearances.

Inside 150 worshippers said prayers for the lost teacher. Many wept as Monsignor Paul Fisher recalled how “her face radiated goodness and kindness”.

Inside the school the mood was described as “calm and reverent”. Lessons were optional but many chose the certainty of their regular timetable. “It was a bit of normality – we were allowed to open up about it,” said Tia Hope, 14, who was with her mother Paula.

“It was really depressing and so surreal. It is so hard to think that anyone from our school could be capable of doing this. It was like no one actually thought it could happen that she could be dead,” she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life