Memorial bench planned for brave little Padiham girl whose courage and cheeky smile touched the hearts of people around the world

The family of a little girl, who was an inspiration for people around the globe, are planning a permanent memorial to her in one of her favourite places.

Tia Taggart, the brave little girl whose courage inspired so many people around the world.
Tia Taggart, the brave little girl whose courage inspired so many people around the world.

Fund raising is underway for a bench in memory of Tia Taggart, the courageous little girl from Padiham, who died last year after a three and half year battle against cancer.

The bench will be sited in the serenity garden at her school, St John's RC Primary School in Padiham, that was created especially for Tia who would have turned 11 today.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A quiet area, away from the 'rough and tumble' of the playground, Tia could still enjoy playtime there without fear of being knocked or hurt while she was undergoing treatment.

Tia (centre) with (from left to right) her sister Tegan, headteacher Mrs Kathleen McKeating, Olympian Sophie Hitchon and Wendy Hitchon as they make an angel during Sophie's visit to the school in 2016.

Although it will have to be strong and sturdy the bench will have features reflecting all the things that Tia loved including teddy bears, unicorns and balloons. The bench will be placed close to another one that is sited there in memory of another pupil, Hayley Barker who died aged just 17 after battling leukaemia.

Tia's family were hoping to have the bench made in time for the first anniversary of her death next month. And her sister Tegan is helping to design the bench which will have a plaque with Tia's name on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tia underwent treatment at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital since she was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.

The brave youngster underwent chemotherapy for tumours in her pelvis and legs as well as rounds of radiotherapy to treat her bone and lung cancers.

Despite everything Tia went through she was always determined to help others and was a loyal fundraiser for the hospital’s charity raising thousands through her unique Jet Set Angels scheme. This was a project that started off as a classroom challenge by Tia’s teacher Mrs Carol Carlile.

Children and staff started off making the tiny angels which ended up being sent around the world and championed by dozens of celebrities and even members of the Royal family.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The project is still continuing today and money from the sale of the angels is being donated to a charity for families who have suffered miscarriages. And, of course, Tia's bench will be adorned by one of the Jet Set Angels

Tia's dad Lee said: "Tia's school played a massive part in her journey, we could not have managed without the support they gave us, they became like family.

"And Tia loved being at school so we couldn't think of a more fitting place than there for the bench to be placed."

Tia loved being part of the Jet Set Angels project and was always happy to pose for the camera to publicise it. A bright and cheerful pupil she was famed for her smile and cheeky sense of humour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This term would have been her last at St John's before leaving for secondary school and one of Tia's final responsibilities would have been to play a role in the 'seeds and gardeners' scheme where reception class children are paired with a child from year six who looks after them and acts as mentor.

As a final tribute to Tia her family, including her parents, Lee and Gillian, were invited to the special seeds and gardeners assembly and all the teddy bears donated by well wishers at her funeral were handed out to the reception class children.

Headteacher Mrs Kathleen McKeating said: "We have always remembered Tia in everything her class has done throughout year..

"The seeds and gardeners assembly was both joyful and moving for us all as Tia would have loved to have been a part of it so we hope that in a way she was."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The fund raising target for Tia's bench has been set at £750 and any money left over will be donated to the school for treats for the pupils from Tia.