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Newcastle school unveils new play area in memory of nursery nurse who died of cancer aged 47

By Sonia Sharma

She was a loving mum-of-three who helped to nurture scores of children at a primary school over 25 years - and now her legacy will live on.

Fatema Anwar, of Fenham, was a nursery nurse at Westgate Hill Primary Academy, in Newcastle, and was loved and respected by staff and children alike.

However, her loved ones were left devastated when she died in October 2020 after a brave battle against liver cancer. She left behind three children - Mehnaaz, 16, Shehnaaz, 14, and Nawaaz, 10.

Read More: Family pay heartfelt tribute to ice cream legend Michael Minchella

Following her death, at the age of 47, funds were raised in her memory and now that money has been used to open a new play area at the school. It was officially opened in the presence of family members, children, staff and Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Coun Habib Rahman.

Her brother Monjer Rashid paid tribute to his late sister. He said: "Fatema was a loving mother, daughter, wife, sister, and aunty, and she leaves behind a family that will dearly miss her. She was a very friendly and likeable person, very neighbourly and supportive.

Family and staff at the nursery play area in memory of Fatema Anwar, who worked at Westgate Hill Primary Academy for 25 years (Newcastle Chronicle)

"She was also very generous with her time and money, helping people access benefit and other essential information and advice, and would help with forms and other communications, whilst supporting charities and causes.

"She worked at the school for 25 years, so she knew a lot of the kids from the nursery who are adults now. The school have been really good in recognising that Fatema was such a great nursery teacher and helped children make a good start to their life."

Mr Rashid said supporting Fatema's children was a priority for the family. He added: "The biggest challenge for us is to try and fill those big boots that she's left behind. We are going to try our best for the kids - the kids are amazing. They are really special, really intelligent.

"The legacy Fatema has left in the school has helped preserve her memory. It's inexplicable how appreciative we are."

Moving tributes have been paid to Fatema Anwar, a mum-of-three who died of liver cancer (supplied by family)

Fatema was also a youth worker with Newcastle City Council for years and was an active member of her community, volunteering for community events and activities.

Nick Watson, head of school, said: "The school set up a GoFundMe page to raise money in Fatema's memory. The school then match-funded the donations and we managed to raise enough to install the wonderful trim train in our nursery outside area.

"Fatema was like a sister to many staff members at Westgate Hill. She had such a big heart and always wore a huge smile wherever she went."

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Dive Deeper:
Mum-of-two dies during medical procedure in Turkey leaving community 'devastated'
The Irish woman tragically lost her life on April 30, before her remains were returned back home earlier this month…
Mum and daughter who survived Manchester terror attack are now becoming nurses
Eve Senior and her mum Natalie, who survived the Manchester Arena terror attack, are training to become nurses. Both women…
Mum-of-three given 'death sentence' after chance phone call in bath leads to diagnosis
Debbie Layfield was in the middle of running a bath at her home in Claughton, Wirral, when she answered a…
More than 6,500 runners help raise almost 210,000 to help children with cancer in UK's biggest charity fun run
Almost £210,000 was raised for Children’s Cancer North after the UK's biggest charity fun run was held on Sunday at…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Irish mum-of-two who died during medical procedure in Turkey named locally
It is believed that she died during the procedure.
Tesco worker given 'death sentence' after chance phone call while running bath
Debbie said she was in total disbelief and struggled to speak after going to see her GP
Get all your news in one place