Memorial to be place of solace for pupils

St Annes teacher Joanna Shaw died aged 39 from adrenal cortical cancer just 20 days after being diagnosed.
St Annes teacher Joanna Shaw died aged 39 from adrenal cortical cancer just 20 days after being diagnosed.
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A special St Annes-style beach hut is planned as a lasting memorial for an inspirational teacher and mentor.

Joanna Shaw’s friends and colleagues hope to build the hut outside the teacher’s classroom so youngsters have a place of solace.

It won’t bring Jo back but it will go some way to helping others to hopefully survive this terrible disease

Alan Thomas

The 39-year-old (pictured), from St Annes, was a popular food technology teacher at Southlands High School in Chorley before her death from a rare and aggressive form of cancer last month.

She was also a dedicated mentor to students, something staff at Southlands want to remember permanently.

Her pastoral manager, Alan Thomas, said: “Tributes were paid in school in the form of a memorial ‘post it’ wall, to which students past and present subscribed.

“Further celebrations of Jo’s life are planned, with a colour-themed balloon release and, hopefully, the building of a St Annes-inspired beach hut outside her room, complete with pebbles and shells from the area she loved.

“It will double up as a place of solace for students should the need it, and would be a fitting legacy for a lady who was taken from us far too soon and who quite simply loved life.”

The school, which held a minute’s silence and closed early for those attending Mrs Shaw’s funeral, has raised more than £120,000 for various charities over the years.

And Mr Thomas said: “Now we will re-think our charity giving and make Cancer Research UK and other cancer related charities our main focus.

“It won’t bring Jo back but it will go some way to helping others to hopefully survive this terrible disease.”

Jo died 20 days after being diagnosed with adrenal cancer, which affects just 40 people in the UK every year.

She died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after spending her last days making memories for daughters Eva, seven, and Isla, three.

Jo, who was described by her husband Gareth as ‘an absolute angel who was completely selfless’, filmed herself reading bedtime stories and wrote her life story.

“She was all about making sure the children did well and we did well as a family,” Gareth added.