A heartbroken boyfriend paid tribute to his ‘soulmate’ teacher who died just one month after she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
PE teacher Ashton Clothier was just 29 when she died from glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour she had been diagnosed with just a month prior.
Her boyfriend Marc Burnip, 42, planned to pop the question to Ashton when her first round of treatment started to take effect.
But the teacher, from Blyth in Northumberland, died in hospital on September 16.
Marc said: “I asked her mum and she said yes, she would love to have me in the family, which meant the world to me.
“Ashton was my life. Within minutes of meeting her I fell in love and when we got together it was magical.
“We were the best team, she was my best friend and soulmate.”
Marc, also a PE teacher, had initially hoped to ask Ashton to become his wife in July during a holiday the pair had planned to Florida.
When the trip was cancelled due to coronavirus, he decided to wait until next year before the couple were hit with the tragic news.
Marc said: “It was heartbreaking, but one of the things that Ashton said was it was harder for her to see how upset the people around her were.
“She had been quite unwell for two or three months, but she hadn’t really been getting the support from the GP.
“Eventually, I took her in to A&E at the end of July. They kept her in for a week for tests and then they told us.”
Despite her illness, Ashton stayed strong and kept smiling for her loved ones and was determined to make things easier on them.
She was described as selfless and radiant person who had wanted to be a PE teacher since she was young and loved her job.
Marc said: “Even in her darkest days she was still thinking about me.
“Everyone who ever met her loved her, she was just so radiant. She made everything better and she and I had a little saying ‘always keep smiling, no matter what’ and we did.”
Marc says the hole left by Ashton’s death will never truly be filled but that he is comforted in the knowledge of the incredible impact she made on hundreds of children.
She supported pupils at Blyth Academy and volunteered with youngsters at Tuesday Club, a sports club for disabled children across the North East.
The club runs out of John Spence High School in North Shields, where Marc teaches PE, and will now be renamed the Ashton Club in her honour with friends and relatives rallying to fundraise.
Marc said: “We would have 50 to 60 children attending on a weekly basis.
“When we got together, Ashton immediately wanted to be part of it and eventually the kids loved her more than me. It was something we both liked to do to give back to the community.
“She absolutely loved the kids and the kids loved her. There wasn’t anybody she wouldn’t try to help.
“There were loads of kids there who wouldn’t work with anybody else but she got them to open up and trust her.
“She just made everybody excited, she was so enthusiastic. It was just magical to be around her.
“She’s going to be very very missed by many people.”