Fundraiser for 'Mrs Ardleigh Green' raises £9k in two days
- Credit: Ben Gibbons
The fundraising page set up to honour a much-loved teaching assistant has already raised more than £9,000.
Wendy Gibbons - a mainstay at Hornchurch's Ardleigh Green Junior School for some 30 years - died on February 24 after a short battle with cancer. She was 57.
In the aftermath her family, led by her children and partners, set about creating a fundraising page in Wendy's name to honour her wish of donations over flowers.
An initial target of £1,000 has been smashed in mere days, with the total - £9,029 at the time of writing - a fitting tribute for this beloved lady.
A mother to Corinne Newberry, Ben and Jodie Gibbons, and partner to Michael (Mickey) Stratford, family was at the centre of Wendy's world.
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Wendy and Mickey shared 16 grandchildren, while Wendy was also a daughter to Janet and Rick Walsh, and sister to Brian and Joanne Walsh.
She was also very close with Ben's wife Nikki - often referred to as a third daughter - as well as her daughter’s partners Lee Newberry and Louis Smith.
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Ben is proud that the fundraiser - the proceeds of which will be split across a few children's charities - has been such a success.
Speaking on behalf of the family, he said: "Mum dedicated her life to helping others. No sum of money will ever fill the void she has left behind but we hope to continue her legacy by raising as much as possible for local children."
Ardleigh Green Junior School saw the benefit of Wendy's generous spirit, its headteacher John Morris OBE mourning the loss of a lady who had given so much over three decades.
In a letter confirming the sad news, he wrote: "Wendy herself was a pupil at Ardleigh Green as were her children and her grandchildren. I have had the privilege of knowing Wendy for over thirty years as a parent, colleague and a dear friend.
"Generations of children have benefitted from Wendy’s unwavering commitment to our school and her desire for all children to achieve their personal best whether in class or in the sporting arena.
"Wendy quite simply was Mrs Ardleigh Green."
Wendy's funeral will be held on April 1 at 2pm at Corbets Tey, with the plan to pass the school en route at approx. 1.30 - 1.40pm.
Visit gofundme.com/f/wendy-walsh to donate in Wendy's honour.