Bursary named in honour of much-loved Derry teacher

Patricia Hughes taught English at St Columb's College in Derry

THE family of a popular teacher have set up a bursary in her memory to help disadvantaged boys go to university.

Patricia Hughes (55), who taught English at St Columb's College in Derry, died suddenly two years ago.

A member of a well-known family, Ms Hughes followed her father Paddy into St Columb's as an English teacher where she worked for 24 years.

She often assisted less well-off children by paying for stationery, books and school trips.

Now, her family is raising funds to cover the £4,000 cost of tuition fees for a pupil from St Columb's. The plan is to make this an annual award.

Ms Hughes' nephew Padraig Delargy, who has just completed his PGCE, said the family wanted to mirror her generosity.

"Patricia helped so many, paying for uniforms, bus tickets and dinners. In the years that followed, I began to take immense pride in Patricia's commitment to ensure that each and every pupil had an equal opportunity, and an equal right to education," he said.

"On Patricia's second anniversary, we are proud to announce a £4,000 bursary.

"The bursary will be open to St. Columb's pupils beginning university this year who receive EMA. The bursary will pay for their first year at university, and ensures that every applicant has an equal chance to receive third level education, based on merit, not financial background."

Author Brian McGilloway was among those to post tributes online on her anniversary.

"She was the warmest, kindest, funniest woman, a true and loyal friend, who laughed at the most inappropriate moments and had a smile and a kind word for everyone she met," he said.

"She made such days bearable, enjoyable even, and was, on the surface, such a happy person, so full of colour and life. As a consequence, her loss was a huge shock and remains a painful absence."

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