HUNDREDS of mourners paid their respects at the funeral of Monica Gallimore yesterday - the former principal of St Cuthbert’s school.
It was standing room only as scores of pupils, staff, friends and family descended upon St Bartholomew’s Church in Rainhill at midday.
The church - where Mrs Gallimore was a worshipping member and reader - was so packed that a handful of well-wishers were called upon to watch on patiently from the foyer.
Among the mourners were several representatives from St Helens Council, including council leader Marie Rimmer, chief executive Carole Hudson and St Helens mayor Geoff Almond.
Poignantly, current St Cuthbert’s pupils formed a guard of honour outside the church prior to the service, with several youngsters carrying colourful banners.
Once inside, Father Phillip Swanson, the chair of governors at the Berry’s Lane school, opened the service.
Fr Swanson told of Mrs Gallimore’s unstinting pride and passion for her work and her love of the school and of education.
He also told of his, and the Gallimore family’s, gratitude towards the staff on Ward 2C at Whiston Hospital, who had treated her during the last few weeks of her life.
Fr Swanson recalled how Mrs Gallimore never ceased to amaze him with her immaculate memory for pupils’ names and invited mourners to pen their own memories of her on slips of paper, before blessing them.
He even quipped about Mrs Gallimore’s “Oscar-winning” performances in the corridors at St Cuthbert’s in her bid to regain order.
In her youth, Mrs Gallimore had been a pupil at Notre Dame grammar school in her native St Helens before graduating from Notre Dame College in Liverpool in 1970.
She got her first teaching job in 1970 at Mount Carmel High School in St Helens and went on to become the deputy headteacher at St Cuthbert’s in 1984 before her promotion to principal in 2008.
Mrs Gallimore, of Rainhill, passed away last month, aged 64, following a short illness. She leaves behind her husband Kevin.