A STORY chair has been unveiled as a lasting tribute to a teaching assistant adored by youngsters at a Blackpool children’s centre.
Natalie Pickles, who worked at Claremont Primary School’s children’s centre, died tragically last year, leaving a baby son, Harry.
The children at Claremont remember Natalie for her story-telling times so staff have ensured her memory lives on with a special reading chair.
Natalie’s mum Dawn Pickles said she is delighted the centre chose to incorporate the memorial when redeveloping its garden.
She said: “It’s lovely, just to prove how popular she was.
“There were a few tears shed but I think it’s nice they’ve done this to celebrate her life.
Natalie, of Blackpool Old Road, Poulton, died from a heart attack on April 26 last year, aged just 21.
She had worked at the children’s centre for three years.
Her favourite story to read to youngsters was The Gruffalo, so children wore Gruffalo masks when the chair was unveiled while Phillippa Worswick read the tale.
Staff at the children’s centre already had plans to redevelop its garden and decided to dedicate part of the area to the memory of their colleague.
Mrs Pickles added: “It’s nice for the community and also for Natalie.
“I knew they had got the money together and then they came to us with the suggestion of a story chair, it’s lovely.”
Deborah Davis, manager at the children’s centre on Westminster Road, North Shore, said: “We decided it would be really nice to dedicate the story chair to Natalie, a role she enjoyed doing was reading to the children.
“The children always enjoyed time with her so we were keen that was the most fitting memorial we could have for her.”
The story chair was unveiled at the beginning of the month, giving colleagues, friends and family a chance to celebrate Natalie’s life.
Lorna, 23, Natalie’s sister, said: “It was wonderful, you could tell how much of an impression Natalie had made on people.
“She touched the lives of everybody.”