'Gentle and special' teacher who dedicated 30 years to helping children at Padiham Green CE Primary School loses her battle with dementia

A “gentle and special” Padiham teacher who spent three decades helping to give children the best start in life has lost her battle with dementia.

Margaret Burton.
Margaret Burton.

Margaret Burton, who taught at Padiham Green CE Primary School for 30 years, died at home aged 73 on Saturday, September 3.

Now her family are fundraising for Pendleside Hospice to thank them for helping to care for Margaret before she died.

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Her daughter, Louise Burton, said: “My mum was really lovely and caring. She was really gentle. She didn’t have a bad bone in her body.”

Margaret with her husband Ian.

Margaret attended St Matthew’s Primary School in Padiham, followed by Clitheroe Royal Grammar School and St Leonard’s Advance Education. She then completed teacher training in Lancaster, where she “danced with Jimi Hendrix”.

She took on her first teaching post at Benjamin Hargreaves CE Primary in Accrington, where the music lover even met The Monkeys. She then moved onto Padiham Green, helping children learn to read, write and draw, and even teaching them to sing We Will Rock You in assembly – and she did it all in stilettos.

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"She always had time for the kids if they were struggling,” said Louise.

An avid baker, gardener and bookworm, she even dedicated much of her personal life to helping to change the world, fundraising for several charities, helping to organise school fairs, standing for the Liberal Democrats and even marching for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

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“She was very intelligent and had an interesting life,” said Louise.

She married her partner Ian, also a teacher, on April 12, 1969, at Padiham Baptist Chapel, and they moved to Albert Street, having two children, David and Louise.

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She retired around 1998 due to ill health, developing a speech impediment, tinnitus, and vertigo in 2000. She showed early signs of dementia in 2014 but the official diagnosis came three years later.

But Louise, who moved in with her parents to care for them both when their health began to decline, says the disease never changed her mum’s kind personality, adding: "Her carers were heartbroken when she died, even though they only knew her for a couple of months, because my mum was so gentle and special. She gave her heart and soul for people.”

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