TEACHING staff at Canon Slade School will remember a colleague who lost her battle against cancer by taking part in Bolton Hospice’s eighth annual Midnight Memories Walk.

They will make the eight-mile walk on Saturday, June 21 in memory of Vanessa Cruikshanks, who worked at Canon Slade for more than 15 years.

Miss Cruikshanks died from cancer in June last year, aged 60.

The group of nine teaching assistants and one teacher aim to raise more than £1,000.

Janet McDermott, who has been a teaching assistant at Canon Slade School for 10 years, was a close friend of Miss Cruikshanks, and visited her during the five weeks she was at Bolton Hospice.

The 52-year-old from Bromley Cross, said: “Vanessa worked at Canon Slade when I first joined.

“She was a lovely, kind, caring person. She always backed you up and she was very supportive.”

Mrs McDermott has lost two close friends and they were both treated at Bolton Hospice.

She said: “It’s a fantastic place. They look after their patients so well. I’m looking forward to the walk. The community spirit will be brilliant on the night — hopefully it won’t rain.”

Teaching assistant Gail Rowinski is taking part in her second Midnight Memories Walk.

Mrs Rowinski has led the group’s fundraising efforts, and has so far helped raise £100 in Miss Cruikshank’s memory.

The 52-year-old from Breightmet said: “Vanessa was a lovely person. Everybody loved her, nobody ever had a bad word to say about her.

“It was a shock how soon she passed away after becoming ill. She was a very private person and it was all so sudden.

“It’s important to raise as much money as possible for Bolton Hospice, because it’s such a fantastic place.

“It’s amazing what their staff do. Everybody in that position should have an opportunity to be treated there.”

Mrs Rowinski added: “The Midnight Memories Walk is fantastic, it’s a great atmosphere. It will be a lot of fun.”

To donate to the group’s walk, visit justgiving.com/walking-for-vanessa.night.