TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving headteacher who was the last nun to lead Holly Mount Primary School.

Teresa Kennelly, who was known to staff and pupils at the school as Sister James, died at the age of 83 in a nursing home near Lytham St Anne’s on May 15.

She was at the school from 1967 to 1993, serving as headteacher from 1970 to 1993.

David Golding, current headteacher, said: “She will be sadly missed by lots and lots of people. She has been our number one supporter for many years.

“She was a very pleasant person, she was well liked, and she had some close friends who would care for her and take her out to different places.

Even after she left the school, she continued to make a contribution to school life, regularly visiting for school events.

She was at the school’s Founders Day last in October last year, to put flowers on the graves at Holly Mount cemetery, which is based at the school.

Mr Golding added: “She was a regular visitor at all sorts of concerts and events such as our annual Founders Day. If you invited her to anything, she would be there.

“She had a great love of Holly Mount, having lived here for so many years. We have lost a great link to the history of the school.”

Sister James’ funeral will take place at St Hilda’s Church in Tottington at 1pm on Friday (May 30), which will be followed by an internment at Holly Mount cemetery.

She will be buried alongside two other former headteachers of the school, in Hollymount Lane.

Mr Golding added: “It is fitting that she will be laid to rest in a place that she loved all her life.”

Sister James was born in County Kerry, and was the last of the order of nuns named the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary to act as headteacher of the school.

The history of the school dates back to the late 1800s, when it was also an orphanage and took in orphans from Salford.

It only became a part of the Catholic Diocese of Salford in 1993, when Sister James left the school.