Mary Bonner worked as a TA in reception at Newburgh Primary School, Kipling Avenue, before she tragically passed away due to cancer in August last year.
Mary loved working with the four and five-year-olds at Newburgh, helping them with literacy skills in particular, so left a generous legacy to help the school continue to deliver the very best early-years education.
Her legacy, supplemented by funding from the school's Parent-Teacher Association, enabled a total refurbishment of the reception classrooms and outside play and learning areas. The work took place during lockdown and the summer holiday this year, ready for the new intake in September.
"Mary was so kind and gentle, with a real flair for bringing the best out of the children," said deputy headteacher Karen Turner, who oversaw the refurbishment. "The children loved her and so did all her colleagues at Newburgh".
"She was a wonderful person and it is typical of her to leave a legacy that will benefit children at the school for years to come. It has completely and utterly transformed reception and we are so grateful to Mary, and also the PTA for their funding".
"We have always been very proud of our reception classes but the area was looking tired having not had a refurb for many years. Now it looks brilliant, repainted in warm, calming colours and refurnished to create zones which means we can work so much better in small groups, encouraging open-ended play. We have also improved the outside play area, installing new construction equipment, den-building and a mathematics area with the emphasis very much on learning through play."
The legacy also funded new resources including books, sensory and science equipment, a newly-equipped role play area and a range of natural resources.
Mary Bonner's husband, Brian Halford said: "Mary loved working in the reception team at Newburgh and shared their collective commitment to give children the best possible start to their primary school education. She was such an inspiring person that she left a legacy in the hearts of everyone who knew her, and now there is also tangible legacy in this refurb which will benefit children entering the school for years to come".