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School hit by second tragedy

A SCHOOL is reeling with shock following the death of two pupils from cancer within a month.

A SCHOOL is reeling with shock following the death of two pupils from cancer within a month.

Brave Vicki Scott lost her four-month fight for life at Pendlebury Children's Hospital in Manchester on Sunday.

She attended Mount Carmel High School, Accrington, and was in the same year as Emma Archer, who died last month after battling cancer for three years.

Headteacher Miss Katrina Ryan said everyone at the school had been left "completely stunned".

She said: "It is the second time in a month we have held a school assembly to tell pupils sad news. We are all devastated and our thoughts and prayers are with her family."

Vicki, who turned 14 in December, developed a lump in her arm in late November last year and tests revealed it was a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma, which affects about 60 children a year in the UK. It quickly spread to her bone marrow and hip.

Speaking to the Observer shortly after receiving news of her diagnosis, her dad Sid Scott, 35, said: "Our initial reaction was just one of shock, total disbelief. You see these things happen to other people on TV and you never think it will hit your family."

Mr Scott and Vicki's mum Julie Riley, 34, who live in Walter Street, Oswaldtwistle, with their other daughter Kelly, nine, were by her bedside on Sunday.

They were too distraught to talk about her death this week.

Emma's mum Debbie, 39, of Broadfield Road, Accrington, said her heart went out to Vicki's parents.

She said: "Emma and Vicki knew each other. When we took Emma to the oncology unit just before Christmas she saw Vicki in the ward."

"I was really upset when my daughter Laura told me she had died as we are all still coming to terms with everything ourselves."

"I genuinely know what they are going through and my heart goes out to them."

A special assembly was held at the school on Monday to inform the pupils, and prayers were said during a mass on Wednesday. Pupils have also raised £1,500 for Macmillan Nurses through a sponsored silence.

Describing Vicki as a "diligent and delightful" girl, Miss Ryan said: "She worked incredibly hard right up to recent weeks. She was the eternal optimist and didn't want to let her studies fall behind. Her favourite subject was English and she kept asking for more homework. She will be missed by everyone in the school community."

Miss Ryan added: "Vicki developed a lump on her arm and that was it. It happened so quickly. She had hoped to keep on at school because she was very conscientious."

"She was just one of the girls and had lots of friends. We all cried together on Monday."

Both Miss Ryan and Head of Year 9 Sue Fielding are due to attend Vicki's funeral at Immanuel Parish Church in Oswaldtwistle today before burial in the churchyard.

Vicki also leaves her grandparents June and Sam, and Iris and Jim, aunts, uncles, cousins and boyfriend Rob Dearnaley, 16.


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