School staff were among the mourners today at the funeral of a dedicated teacher and married mum-of-two who died of cancer aged 33.
Francesca Cordero Penalver (nee McIntyre) was a hugely popular member of staff at St Michael & All Angels CE Primary School, Shelf.
Her interests included salsa dancing and it was on a holiday to Cuba in 2006 she met her dancing partner and future husband Mario Cordero Penalver and they set up home at Savile Park, Halifax.
St Michael’s School will be closed this afternoon so staff can attend the funeral at St Jude’s Church, Savile Park, where the couple were married.
Francesca joined St Michael’s School in September 2004 and her colleagues paid the following tribute.
“She quickly became a respected member of the school team.
“It was obvious from the beginning that she was an exceptional teacher. She wanted to ‘go the extra mile’ for the children in her care.
“She would attend music recitals, dance festivals etc. when children in her class were performing in their out-of-school activities.
“Fran was very much a teacher who wanted the best for the children in her class. She made learning fun for the children, but most of all she treated all children with respect and earned their respect in return.”
She loved maths and became a specialist in the subject and recognised as an Advanced Skills Teacher which saw her working in other schools supporting teachers.
And, after attending a course at the Yorkshire Showground she built a chicken coop and the school became proud owners of 10 chickens.
“The children love them and look after them, cleaning them out and collecting the eggs.
“Fran was an exceptional person and teacher. She was loved by pupils, parents and colleagues. She will be sorely missed in school.”
In recognition of Francesca’s contribution the school will create a memorial garden in her honour and a condolence book has been opened at school.
Staff will take part in the Overgate Hospice midnight walk in September in memory of Francesca. Funds raised at tomorrow’s open day at Queens Sports Club, Halifax, will be donated to Overgate in her memory.
Francesca also leaves her parents Grem and Jacqui and brothers Andrew, Ross and Paul.