Second Blackpool school worker dies after Covid battle

A second Fylde coast school worker has died after battling Covid, it was confirmed this afternoon.

Monday, 30th November 2020, 6:30 pm

Cath Strangwood, 57, a support assistant at Moor Park Primary School in Bispham, lost her fight for life on Saturday, headteacher Joanne Magson told parents today.

It comes after Michael Haigh, 60, a site supervisor at Christ the King, St Mary's, and St Cuthbert's academies in Blackpool, also died after testing positive for the disease.Mrs Magson, who previously said seven members of staff at the school, which was forced to shut temporarily following a recent outbreak, had Covid, said in a letter: "It is with a very heavy heart that I write to you today.

"I am deeply sorry to inform you that Mrs Cath Strangwood passed away on Saturday morning after being critically ill following testing positive for Covid."

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Cath Strangwood, who has died after battling Covid

Mrs Stangwood, a support assistant, had been at the school for "many years" and had been working with Year Four youngsters in recent times, Mrs Magson said.

She added: "She was an exceptionally kind and positive person and touched the hearts of everybody she supported and worked with, staff and children alike."

Parents have been asked to speak to their children about the tragedy, with support set to be offered to pupils tomorrow and over the coming weeks.

The school will remain closed on the day of Mrs Strangwood's funeral, though a date had yet to be announced.

Mrs Magson added: "Cath was not just a colleague to us but a dear friend and we will all greatly miss her."

Mrs Strangwood, who was married to her husband Andrew for 32 years and had asthma, also leaves three children and three grandchildren.

Earlier this month, Graeme Dow, who is in charge at Anchorsholme Academy, told parents: "Sadly, I have also had the news that two members of staff from Blackpool schools are currently in [the] ICU [Intensive Care Unit] at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

"This reminds us how real the threat of Covid can be and how essential it is that we maintain the hand - face - space guidance."

Blackpool Council said it "cannot comment on individual cases" when asked for an update on the staff members' conditions and which schools they worked for.

It said the same again today.

At least a dozen local schools, which have remained open during the second lockdown, have been forced to send children into isolation, while at least two have been forced to close completely.

In September, Westcliff Primary Academy, in Crawford Avenue, Bispham, was hit by an outbreak, while more recently, Moor Park, in Moor Park Avenue, was forced to shut its doors.

The majority of youngsters were off school, learning from home, from March until the end of the summer term.

They returned to the classroom in September.

Last week, Mr Haigh's wife Fiona said he was a selfless and generous man.

She said: "He liked helping the children. He used to mend their toys and make them things because he was very good with his hands."

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here