The children who kept a popular learning support assistant and dinner lady going through her heart-rending battle with cancer have walked to fund a garden in her memory.
Pupils of Greenfields Primary School, Kettering, walked a mile today to fund a memorial garden for Sharneen Fletcher, who died of cancer aged just 46 in January.
Mrs Fletcher’s daughter, Jenna, 21, said: “She would have been overwhelmed. She loved the kids here and loved her job.”
Organiser Catherine O’Rourke, whose daughter Lucy worked alongside ‘Mrs F’, said: “Her Marie Curie nurse said it was the kids who kept her going.”
The children, who have raised about £400 towards the garden by paying to walk three laps of the field and wear bright colours in Mrs Fletcher’s memory, also wrote messages to the learning support assistant, who worked at the school for 12 years, and released them on coloured balloons.
The pupils, who will design the garden outside the front of the school, named the walk the ‘Colourful Cupcake Walk’ because keen baker Mrs Fletcher would often bring in cupcakes for them.
Pupil Salum Salum, 11, of Kettering, said: “She was kind, bubbly and friendly. She was good at making people laugh.
“She loved cupcakes. She used to bake them all the time and they were delicious.”
Farida Issa, 11, of Kettering, who was one of Mrs Fletcher’s favourite pupils, said: “I remember her by her cakes and how she was lovely and pretty.
“I was thinking about ‘Mrs F’ as I walked today.”
In a sign of their enthusiasm, many of the pupils ran the whole mile.
Jenna, of Rothwell, said: “It has been lovely. It’s been a bit emotional.
“I’ve seen how much she meant to everyone. I’ve been crying all day.”
The pupils plan to include flowers, a water feature and a model angel in the garden.
A mural of South African art will be painted on the wall because Mrs Fletcher moved to the county from South Africa in 1997.
Jenna said: “It’s a really nice thought that everyone is putting into the garden. We never would have expected she meant that much.”
Mrs Fletcher was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003.
She fought it off and almost reached five years in remission when it returned to her liver. It then spread to her bones and in November doctors told her she had months to live.
The Family visited her home country in December to spend a final Christmas with her relatives.
On her return Mrs Fletcher died on January 16.
Year 2 and 3 teacher Lucy O’Rourke said: “She was very popular. She had a smile on her face through her whole illness. The kids had no idea how ill she was.”
Year 5 and 6 teacher Richard Baish said: “People often use the word inspirational, but she was inspirational.”
Mrs Fletcher’s son Matthew, 18, of Corby, said: “Today has been a nice day with the sponsored walk. Thank you to everyone who has donated.”