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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue