Memorial garden opened for popular Whitefield teaching assistant

In the memorial garden are, from left, Michael Booth, a lecturer in carpentry and joinery at Bury College, students Andrew Duffy, Ryan Mullan, Aaron Heaton, Callum Stanley, and technician Chris Hutchinson

In the memorial garden are, from left, Michael Booth, a lecturer in carpentry and joinery at Bury College, students Andrew Duffy, Ryan Mullan, Aaron Heaton, Callum Stanley, and technician Chris Hutchinson

First published in News Prestwich and Whitefield Guide: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A GARDEN has been opened in memory of a much-loved classroom assistant at a Whitefield primary school after she died just days after being diagnosed with cancer.

Sue Miller had worked at Ribble Drive Primary School for about 10 years, and was diagnosed with what doctors believe was bowel cancer last August.

She died suddenly, aged 51, on August 3, and now pupils and staff have created the garden as a permanent memorial with the help of students from Bury College.

Mrs Miller, who left behind her sons Jason, aged 25, and Thomas, aged 21, as well as her brother Neil and sister Karen, had been married to her husband Paul for 18 months.

Sister-in-law Clare Coulborn said: “She was a very cheerful, hard-working person, and loved her family. I think she would be surprised about the garden, but she would have been chuffed.”

Mrs Miller, who lived in Barnard Avenue, Whitefield, worked with Year Two pupils, and frequently used the area, where the garden now is, to give the pupils the chance to enjoy the outdoors.

Susan Erswell, headteacher at Ribble Drive, added: “She was loved, the children adored her. She was always a friendly face, and someone they could turn to for help and support at any time.She got on with everybody, and was the kind of employee anyone would want to have.”

The garden includes a hexagonal bench featuring a memorial plaque, which wraps around a sycamore tree; two other three- seater benches; and flowers and shrubs chosen by the children. It has a purple theme to reflect Mrs Miller’s favourite colour.

The work was carried out by Bury College students who are working towards a diploma in site carpentry, who used their skills to create a relaxing space for pupils.

Chris Hutchinson, carpentry and joinery technician at Bury College, added: “The students really enjoyed this project. As well as gaining site experience, it gave them job satisfaction from producing such a quality job. We hope to do many more projects like this in the near future.”

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