On Monday, 21 June, we learned of the passing of a very dear friend to Magna Academy.
Annie Allen, who was a leading light on our PTFA for many years, had been living courageously with motor neurone disease for some time. Our love and our deepest thoughts are with her husband, Neil, and her son, Sam.
Annie joined our PTFA when Sam came to Magna as a student and quickly established herself as the ‘engine room’ of that invaluable group. Using tact, diplomacy and her inexhaustible determination to make a difference, Annie oversaw a transformation of our PTFA.
That transformation centred on the scale of Annie and the team’s ambition to deliver not just the standard fund-raising activities but ‘extravaganzas’ too, intended to net a sizeable income for the academy in one large-scale event. And how they succeeded.
Annie was creative by nature and by profession. Using these skills, she was at the heart of the thinking that devised Magna’s ‘Festive Friday’, with which many parents, carers and locals will already be familiar. This was a pre-Christmas market-style evening, in which the whole academy building was opened up to the community. The PTFA managed a whole carnival of stalls, with gift items offered up alongside a choir, performing arts students in costume, food, drink, raffles, games, a creche, a Santa’s grotto and much more.
Such was the intense level of interest, the event caused traffic chaos around the campus site as people thronged to attend. The PTFA used to joke that you could probably see the glow of happiness from Magna Academy that night from the International Space Station.
None of this would have been possible without Annie’s fizzy energy and her heartfelt desire to raise funds that would help transform the lives and opportunities in the life of every single Magna student.
And this is just one annual event. Annie was instrumental in all the activities in which the PTFA engaged. From ice pops on scorching Sports Days to Fashion Shows with students modelling clothes for sale. From always attending and leading planning meetings to the nuts and bolts of making and wrapping and then event delivery. She devoted so much time, thought and energy into these projects. She was always encouraging and supportive of others around her and she lifted people when their energy or enthusiasm was flagging. Always with a smile. Always with the kindest of hearts.
Covid-19 restrictions mean that only a small family service is possible, but Annie’s family has asked that anyone who wishes to pay their respects can make donations to the Motor Neurone Disease Association in Annie’s memory. This can be done by following the link below:
We will all miss Annie greatly. It is hard to accept that someone with such a zest for life, someone so endlessly positive, is no longer with us. Among those who feel her loss the most are her friends who made up that Magna Academy PTFA and we will close this tribute to Annie by turning the page over to their words and their recollections of her.
“Annie was a beautiful lady both inside and out and was always willing to help others. She was dedicated to PTA work having served on PTAs at infant, junior and secondary schools. She always put her name on the list of volunteers for helping as well as suggesting many wonderful ways to raise money.
She gave 110% to every event and was a brilliant graphic designer, coming up with so many posters and leaflets over her many years on various PTAs.
Her enthusiasm was infectious and she was so organised. Her aim, to raise money to benefit all children in the various schools.
Her dedication did not stop when she was diagnosed, she even helped to sell raffle tickets on the very day that she received her diagnosis.
A truly beautiful soul and loyal friend. Annie made things happen and taught us how to maximise every event. It wasn’t just a raffle, it was designed even down to how the prize table was set up.
She was determined to be on the Magna PTFA for as long as she could, even when she had lost her voice and needed a wheelchair to move around. She still attended, still took on a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. She even put herself down for manning the raffle, telling us she could write out tickets but the rest of us had to do the talking.
In a nutshell, Annie was a remarkable woman who touched the lives of so many.
Her courage was outstanding and she never let anything get in her way. She was determined to help no matter what she was facing. She maintained a sense of humour throughout it all and inspired us as a PTFA team.
The PTAs she belonged to were truly blessed and so fortunate to have had her on board not only as their media and marketing member but also as an amazing, supportive friend to all.”
“Although I only got to know Annie in the past five years, her impact on me has been like I’d known her a lifetime. Her kindness, humour and sheer strength in the way she gallantly fought her MND these past four years is a lesson in life to us all. Although short, I will always carry our friendship in my heart forever.”
Annie was living proof of how fine a person can be. In the short time I was privileged to know her she was clearly devoted to both Sam and Neil. She was also a good friend to many and a great colleague.
Annie gave energy, commitment and inspiration to not only the PTFA but also to others with whom she worked. The Annie I remember was happy, not only was she cheerful in herself but who gave much cheerfulness to others. She had a beautiful smile, a wonderful sense of humour and a gentle demeanour. She was bright, logical and creative in her thinking. She was always willing to share her ideas and experience. A truly beautiful person of great intellect and big heart.
Annie was a genuinely warm and wonderful individual—one many miss greatly. I just hope that everyone’s sorrow is lessened only slightly with the comforting thought that we had the privilege to know her.
“To me, Annie was one in a million, with her positivity and infectious grin. I found her a real inspiration in the way she was able to find humour in her situation with her funny Facebook posts. My favourite memory was at Festive Friday when, every time I saw her, she had a glass of Prosecco in hand and was riding round the stalls on her mobility scooter, covered in tinsel. Always in my heart xxx”
“When I first met Annie, it struck me what a kind, warm and gentle woman she was. A great listener. A thoughtful and inclusive collaborator.
Then, slowly, I began to realise that, underneath all that genuine charm and charisma, there was a fiery determination to succeed and an absolute intolerance for the notion that ‘it can’t be done’ or ‘it’s biting off more than we can chew’.
She was an utterly can-do thinker and her energy in getting projects completed was inexhaustible. In life, there are a few people who you feel truly privileged to have known. For me, Annie is and will always be one of those people.
Already an inspiration when she was well, Annie bore her MND with such grace and good humour that I will always take inspiration from her example.
Thank you for having been in my life, Annie. I am made the better for it.”