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Memorial service held for 'perfect' teacher Ann Maguire

Pupils, colleagues and family members joined a memorial service today to pay tribute to "passionate" and "committed" teacher Ann Maguire.

Some 1,200 people packed into Leeds Town Hall, while another 500 gathered in front of big screens outside, to listen to the service for Ms Maguire, 61, who died after being stabbed at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April, as she taught a Spanish lesson.

Ms Maguire's nephews, Daniel and Andrew Poole, were among those to share their memories of the teacher. Past and present pupils from Corpus Christi Catholic College, where Ms Maguire taught for more than 40 years, described her as "perfect" in a special film shown to the congregation.

The service was led by Monsignor John Wilson, who spoke of Ms Maguire's compassion and commitment to teaching.

He said: "Following the tragedy of her untimely death, we mark her wonderful contribution to education in our city. We unite in sharing one purpose, to honour and celebrate Ann's life and work."

Monsignor Wilson added: "Ann loved teaching. It was her dream as a very young child, her ambition as a teenager, a fulfilling reality for 40 years."

He continued: "Ann was a priceless gift, a treasure for ever in our hearts for eternity. She believed in the innate goodness of children and young people. Ann rightly lived up to the accolade of mother of the school."

Daniel and Andrew Poole were brought up by Ms Maguire as her own sons after her sister Eileen's death from cancer. They shared their childhood memories in a letter written to their aunt and said they were privileged to have had her in their lives.

The brothers said: "We hope you realise, Ann, that all you did has been remembered and appreciated.

"We're here today to say we miss you, we're here today to say we love you but we really, really would like to say thank you, goodnight, God bless."

Before the service, Ms Maguire's husband Don, 62, told the BBC he hoped it would reflect the "beautiful, dedicated, hard-working" woman she was. He said: "I would hope that the memorial service would reflect Ann's life and help people connect to her life. She was a very special individual. She did the everyday things in a very special way."

In the same interview, her daughter Emma Maguire said: "We really want mum's legacy to be something that stands for everything she was. She taught for 40 years and will have affected thousands of people's lives and probably shaped their career choices, decisions they made in their life or even the people they became."

The congregation at the memorial joined in a minute's silence, which was also observed by several schools across Leeds.

After the service, Ms Maguire's other daughter Kerry read a brief statement on the steps of the town hall in which she thanked all those who had supported the family.

The Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund has been set up in her memory to provide bursaries and funding for the enhancement and personal development of young people through music, drama, language and dance.

In July, TES honoured Mrs Maguire with a special award for services to education.

A 15-year-old boy has appeared in court charged with Ms Maguire's murder. He is remanded in custody and will appear in court again in November.

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