Heartbroken farewell to 'auntie of the neighbourhood' who dedicated life to school

Tributes have been paid to a well respected and compassionate teaching assistant who was the ‘auntie of the neighbourhood’.

Ruth Maureen Sinclair died at her home on Barnes Avenue, Rawtenstall, after her long battle with lung and bone cancer on April 23, aged 65. She was a teaching assistant at Fearns High School in Stacksteads for around 20 years and carried out the same job role at Alder Grange School in Rawtenstall for around six years.

Her daughter, Janine, said: “She was like the auntie of the neighbourhood. She babysat two girls who were very important to her and the neighbourhood children called her Auntie Ruth.


“She was a good humoured and good natured person who loved her children. Children could talk to her and she was easy to like.

“Staff at her work described her as hard working, dedicated and funny. She was determined.

“She saved money for a year to achieve her dream of going to Canada, and while it was hard work, she fought tears against cancer, walking for weeks with a broken hip saying it’s okay I just need some paracetamol.

“Even her doctor said she was a strong woman with a wicked and fierce sense of humour. Her home was open to anyone in need and she cared about them like her own.”

Ruth was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022 and was diagnosed with bone cancer a year later. The beloved grandmother-of-three was born and raised in Rawtenstall and attended Haslingden High School.

She moved down south for some time and decided to move back to her home town in her late 20s. The BA psychology graduate enjoyed walks with her boxer dogs Xena, Joey and Bryl and liked playing bingo in Burnley on a Sunday.

Ruth was devoted to her three daughters, Jenny, Janine and Kim, her son Andrew, who sadly died, her stepsons Shane, Timothy and Travis, and her three grandsons Jon, Teo and Sebi. She enjoyed taking her family out for long walks and treating them to a hot chocolate afterwards.