THE heartbroken daughter of a much-loved school cleaner has expressed her gratitude after staff made the decision to honour her mum for years to come.

Helen Bradley, from Parkhead, sadly passed away in November 2021 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour and lung cancer just two months earlier.

The 60-year-old worked as a cleaner in St Michael’s Primary School in Glasgow’s East End for 24 years and was popular amongst pupils and staff.

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Her daughter Claire has thanked staff at the school for honouring her mum with a new award, that will be presented to a P7 pupil every year going forward.

Claire said: “The school has been very supportive since I lost my mum. Last week, I attended my son Reagan’s P7 graduation ceremony.

“I had got a phone call before and was asked for permission for an award to be presented in my mum’s name, but we just thought it would be a one-off certificate or something.

“The winning pupil got to take a trophy home and there’s a plaque that will stay in the school and have every winner’s name engraved on it. We just didn’t expect it. My mum will be honoured for years to come.

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“Headteacher Mrs Stafford, who is temporarily working in a different school just now, came back to present the award.

“My mum’s name came on the board, and she explained what the award was for and why they were doing it. It was Miss Healy who suggested having the award in memory of my mum and all the staff totally agreed.”

The Helen Bradley Award is based on Helen’s characteristics – including hardworking and caring.

Claire, who was at the recent ceremony along with her sister Julie-Ann Cruickshank, said they were completely overwhelmed.

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“We just burst into tears,” Claire said. “To know they want to continue her legacy on in the school is amazing. It was a sad and happy day, but we are absolutely honoured the school did that.

“My mum was so loved, and this award just shows how much she was loved. The staff are still absolutely devastated. They say they walk in every day and still expect her to be there. It’s still quite raw for everybody.

“They want to continue her legacy in the school because they appreciated the work that she did. She was a wee grafter.

“She did everything for everybody, and they miss her sorely.”

Claire and her family went through a traumatic time at the end of last year, as her partner Alan’s mum died just four days before Helen.

She said staff at the school provided them with emotional support by asking them in for tea and coffee and making sure they were okay. Staff also attended her mum’s funeral.

“It’s still hard, we’re grieving together,” Claire said. “I’m heartbroken, the both of us are. It shouldn’t have happened, but it did, and it must have been for a reason because it’s brought us closer together as a family.

“We now realise how much it means to stick together and continue with life because that’s what they would have wanted for us.”

Claire, from Parkhead, also attended St Michael’s when she was younger, as well as her sister and her niece Molly Rose, who graduated from P7 last year. Her nephew Theo will be starting school in August.

“When me and my sister were at primary, my mum led the netball team, this is how she got a job in the school,” Claire said.

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“They were looking for parent helpers to come in coach and my mum decided to volunteer her time to do that, then a job came up in the school and she took it.

“She loved it that much she called it her second family. She couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and she’d never miss a day of work even if she wasn’t feeling well. She never stopped.

"The staff in the school became friends more than colleagues. She just loved the pupils too.

“She lived for me, my sister, her grandweans and her job. She was amazing, very intelligent, always helping others and always smiling.”

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Claire got in touch with the Glasgow Times in order to thank all the staff at St Michael’s.

Despite already buying flowers, the 30-year-old said she really wanted to show how much she appreciates the support.

“I just don’t know how to thank them,” Claire said. “I don’t think they realise how much they’ve done, and it just means the world.

“On behalf of me and my family, thank you. We’ll never forget what you’ve done. There are too many people to thank individually, and we just wanted to let everyone know we appreciate what you’ve done and will continue to do for years to come.”