Memorial for brave champion of school

PAYING THEIR RESPECTS -- Evelyn Arslan and her husband, Hamdi, (right), with Leen Mills School head teacher John White (second left) and chairman of the governors Roger Kahler at the plaque ceremony -- DISPIC NHUD11-3399-1

PAYING THEIR RESPECTS -- Evelyn Arslan and her husband, Hamdi, (right), with Leen Mills School head teacher John White (second left) and chairman of the governors Roger Kahler at the plaque ceremony -- DISPIC NHUD11-3399-1

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A BRAVE young Hucknall mum who lost a long fight against cancer has been honoured with a memorial plaque at a school in the town.

Single mum Janet Arslan, of Parkgate, died in May last year. She was aged just 40 and left her 12-year-old daughter, Georgia.

Janet was first hit by breast cancer in the 1990s. In 2000, she was on a high after receiving news she had beaten the disease.

However, just 18 months later, after suffering from back pain, she was diagnosed with a terminal form of secondary cancer in her spine and pelvis.

Despite the devastating news, Janet packed her life to the full. Among the causes she took on was a campaign against NHS cuts she feared would sabotage the quality of care and treatment for patients with secondary cancer.

And locally, she became heavily involved as a governor at Leen Mills Primary School in Hucknall, where her daughter was a pupil.

Janet eventually became chairman of the governors and played a pivotal role in securing a new extension for the school.

It is in recognition of those efforts that head teacher John White has unveiled a plaque in her memory at the campus, off Leen Mills Lane.

“Janet was extremely active,” said Mr White. “She was a very bright lady and wanted to become more involved with the school, so she put herself up to be elected as chairman of the governors.”

Mr White explained that Janet played a key part in driving forward plans for the school’s “desperately needed” extension.

“She has left a legacy,” he added. “Janet found out she had terminal cancer very early on and wasn’t expected to live so long. But she carried on for almost nine years. That was a real achievement and showed her determination.”

As well as the plaque, the school has commissioned a trophy in Janet’s name that will be presented to a year-six pupil each year in honour of a special achievement.

“Janet will be sorely missed,” added Mr White. “For her to die so young, with such a young daughter, is a tragedy.

Janet’s mum, Evelyn Arslan, of Hucknall, who is a trained teacher, formerly helped out in the early-years classes at Leen Mills. She was invited to the school for the plaque unveiling.

She said: “Janet was so brave and had such a spark. It is very kind of the school to do this in her memory.”