A MEMORIAL has been installed to a wife, mother, and well-loved school cook who died last year at the age of 74.

Ann Leigh, born Ann Mellor in 1946 in Darwen, died on April 3 2020, leaving husband of 56 years Bob and children Garry, Michael and Louise.

She also left a legacy as a truly special catering manager at Holy Trinity School in Darwen, with 32 years of happy memories imparted to generations of children, including her own who attended the school.

Former headteacher Mike Leighton said: “My time at Trinity seemed to run parallel with Ann’s in that both of us sent our children to the school and our lives were inextricably linked.

“Both our jobs were created to help get the most from all the children in the school.

“Ann’s professional attitude as cook was clearly inspirational, she was kind, patient and thoughtful at all times in her dealing with thousands of children who were always polite because she naturally expected it.”

Mrs Leigh grew up as one of four siblings on Jubilee Street in the Bold Venture area of Darwen.

After meeting Bob, they would bring up their three children in the same Darwen community that had nurtured Ann in her younger days where they forged many years of happy memories, particularly of visits to Bold Venture Park.

Meanwhile, her time at Holy Trinity was distinguished by the dedication she showed to children in her care, going above and beyond to ensure that they were well fed and healthy.

Mr Leighton said: “I remember my times in the hall, putting the PE apparatus out on a Friday morning and there were specific times when we needed to end the lesson, 11.30.

“We had to finish at that time Ann and her staff had time to set out the hall for lunch.

“There were times it reached 11.45, Ann didn’t complain she just carried on even though we had pushed the limits.

“She knew we needed the time and she accepted it, others I know would not be kind like this.

Turning to his former colleagues skills in the kitchen, Mr Leighton added: “Ann made special wonderful buffets for end of career celebrations or school functions, they were amazing!

“She was a special cook, everyone said so.”

“Ann was a great example, a great Trinitarian!”

Now Ann’s family, with the permission of Blackburn with Darwen Council, have secured a memorial bench in Bold Venture Park, Darwen.

Daughter Louise Oldfield said: “We decided that a bench in Bold Venture Park overlooking the lake would be the most appropriate place where all of her family and friends can reminisce.

“We were delighted to secure this location almost on her first anniversary as a place where we as a family have a lot of such happy memories.

“We would really like to thank The Blackburn with Darwen parks team for making this possible as without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”