SHOCKED friends and teachers have paid tribute to a Doncaster schoolgirl after she lost her battle against cancer.
Beth Fitzpatrick from Cantley was only diagnosed with the illness before Christmas, but died on Sunday as pals at McAuley School were trying to raise money to send her on a dream holiday.
The 14-year-old had won awards for own charity fundraising work. Now nearly 800 people have joined a Facebook group in her memory. Television star Sheridan Smith, who had met her, is among those who have paid tribute.
McAuley School headteacher Paul Gray said: “Beth was a gem of a student - very bright, very popular, extremely generous of heart.
“Beth was form captain of 9K and as such, took a leading role in all of those key things that make our ethos so special at McAuley.
“Beth helped with leading prayer in school; she worked closely with her class in preparing and delivering assemblies; she was actively involved in raising money for a number of school charities. She was also supremely organised – making her form teacher’s job so much easier.
“There were so many aspects of Beth’s life which marked her out as a superb role model.
“Beyond the dutiful side to Beth - reliable, punctual, conscientious- she was a person of deep kindness, with a delightful sense of humour, but well able to articulate what she saw as being fair and right.
“One of the best examples of the person Beth was, is evident through her work in ‘Buddies’ –our peer mentoring scheme in which students listen to and support other students who face difﬁculties in their lives.
“It is ﬁtting that shortly before Beth’s passing, she received The Diana Award for her contribution to the work of Buddies in school, along with the ASDAN Peer Mentoring Certificate.
“A large part of our school community feels hollow and numb in the absence of Beth right now.”
Sheridan Smith, who had met Beth while she was battling the illness, said on Twitter: “I will always remember her.
“She is a special girl with an amazingly brave family.”