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Teacher family thanks well-wishers

The family of murdered teacher Ann Maguire has thanked everyone who sent them messages of support and said they hope to harness the goodwill shown to them through the arts education fund set up in her memory.

Mrs Maguire, 61, was stabbed to death in a classroom at Corpus Christi Catholic College, in Leeds, in April, as she taught a Spanish lesson.

Earlier this week, 16-year-old Will Cornick was told he must serve a minimum of 20 years in custody after he admitted the murder of the much-loved teacher, who had taught at Corpus Christi for more than 40 years.

Today, Mrs Maguire's family issued a statement thanking the public for their kindness and their contributions to the Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund, which have already topped £32,000.

They said they thought the fund would soon be able to take applications for grants.

The statement said: "The family would like to express our thanks for all the messages of support and kindnesses shown to us and the wonderful tributes to Ann.

"They have been a great comfort to us and we are very grateful.

"This is a very difficult time for the family and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

"We want to look for the good that can come out of this tragedy and focus on what was important to Ann. This was about helping others, especially young people, in developing their potential.

"The Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund which we set up in April 2014 will be the channel for harnessing that goodwill and the desire to build a lasting tribute to her memory."

The statement went on: "Ann had an incredible passion for teaching and encouraging talent in her pupils and the fund wishes to enable and further the aspirations of young people in her honour.

"The response has been wonderful and we are very grateful and humbled that hundreds of people and organisations have contributed so generously.

"The fund continues to remain open for donations at www.annmaguire.org and currently stands at over £32,000, which means that we can shortly start to receive applications for grants."

The fund will be open for applications before the end of this month.

Mrs Maguire's family said its focus is on arts education, including the performing arts such as drama - incorporating literature and poetry - singing, instrumental music and dance.

Grants of up to £500 will be available for individuals aged between 11 and 18 living in West Yorkshire who have a talent in any of these arts areas and who can demonstrate that their personal circumstances prevent them from fully developing their skills.

The fund is also open to Leeds-based community groups which provide activities for talented young people meeting the same criteria and they can apply for a grant of up to £1,500.

Full details are available from Leeds Community Foundation which is providing the administration service for the fund on behalf of the family.

The fund will open for applications from November 26 when the first tranche of grants and application forms can be downloaded from the foundation's website: www.leedscf.org.uk.

On Monday, Mrs Maguire's family - her husband Don and daughters Kerry and Emma - sat in Leeds Crown Court where they heard harrowing descriptions of how Cornick stabbed his teacher repeatedly from behind after first winking at a classmate.

A judge was told how the teenager developed a deep hatred for his teacher, who was due to retire in September.

After stabbing Mrs Maguire and chasing her out of the class, he went back into the room and sat down as if nothing had happened, saying "good times", to another student.

The judge said it was "truly grotesque" that Cornick had shown no remorse and continued to express his pride about what he did.

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