Concert in memory of inspirational teacher Ruth

Ruth McKiernan, retired languages teacher, who died from cancer in October 2015 (s)

Ruth McKiernan, retired languages teacher, who died from cancer in October 2015 (s)

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A concert to pay tribute and raise money in memory of a devoted Burnley teacher who died last year is to be held at the sixth form where she worked.

Collegaues at Thomas Whitham Sixth Form in Barden Lane said Ruth McKiernan (58), who had cancer, was “a larger than life character, with a strong personality, and a reputation for honesty, integrity, kindness and straight-talking that endeared her to both colleagues and the many students she helped over the years.”

Now students, former students, ex-colleagues and friends are collaborating in an evening of music, dance and fashion that pays tribute to Ruth, and aims to raise funds for Pendleside Hospice, where she spent her final weeks.

The event takes place on Thursday, March 10th, at 7pm at Thomas Whitham.

Mrs McKiernan taught at East Lancashire schools for 36 years, starting her teaching career at Mansfield High School before moving onto St Theodore’s and Thomas Whitham Sixth Form.

The modern languagues teacher was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just as she retired from teaching, and died in October 2015.

Born in Greenwich, Mrs McKiernan moved to Newcastle, where her parents were from, when she was six months old. She moved to Lancashire in 1978.

Ex-St Theodore’s pupil, Sean Ruane, now known throughout the country as “The Operatic Voice of Sport”, and established international opera star and a friend of Ruth’s, Kathleen Wilkinson, are among those performing.

Former colleague, and principal cornet with Stackstead’s Band Jimmy Hoyle will be appearing alongside them and as a soloist, and former St Theodore’s and Thomas Whitham students George Comer and Jake Newsham, now both students at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music, will also be returning to sing.

There will also be a selection of songs and dance by current Thomas Whitham students, and fashion show which is sponsored by Boohoo.

The evening begins with a champagne reception from 6-20pm with musical entertainment provided by Jack Herbert.

Tickets are £10 and are available from Thomas Whitham staff or students. Telephone reservations can be made on 01282 682272.