'There'll never be another Dyllis' - school's tribute to devoted volunteer

St Helens Star: Dyllis Fairhurst Dyllis Fairhurst

A DEVOTED volunteer who remained at the centre of a primary school’s daily life at the age of 88 has died.

Dyllis Fairhurst started work as Legh Vale’s caretaker in 1980, but after retiring at 65 she became an integral part of the Haydock-based school’s office team for another two decades.

Despite being in her 80s she had her own desk and a job description to match – meaning she would work from 8.30am until 5pm daily.

Tributes have been flowing since her death last month in Whiston Hospital following illness.

Dyllis, a mother-of-one and grandmother-of-one from Haydock, had planned on leaving the school 23 years ago, but after her husband Ken died shortly before her retirement date she had a change of heart.

She hung up her caretaker aprons and moved into the office, initially helping to count the dinner money before becoming “indispensable” to all staff at the busy school.

Her many roles included running the school uniform shop – always taking pride to ensure pupils appeared smart and reflected the community well – organising theatre club coach trips, accompanying classes on outings and collecting dinner money.

Her status as an unsung hero saw her voted a Friday’s Hero by the Times Education Supplement eight years ago.

Joyce Kilmurray, the school’s former business manager, said: “There will never be another like Dyllis, and she will be missed by many children, staff and parents past and present.

“All will have their own memory of what she did to help them.

“Her Christian faith kept her strong to deal with her own trials in life. This is true also of the way she has dealt with her recent illness.

“In one of my final conversations with her she indicated she would be back in school after her hospital treatment.”

A funeral service will take place at Christ Church, Haydock this Wednesday.

Donations to Cancer Research UK care of the funeral director F W Marsh Family Funeral Services, telephone 01744 27928.

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