‘Lovely’ headteacher who thought she pulled a muscle on holiday dies of bowel cancer


A mum who was told she had months left to live after complaining of pain on the side of her body has died from bowel cancer.

Family and friends have now paid loving tributes to the “inspirational” headteacher who they say had the “most welcoming smile”, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Ros Atkins, 43, was on holiday in Scotland with her husband John, 42, and their six-year-old daughter Maggie, when she started experiencing pain in the right side of her body, like a stitch, which she thought could have been a pulled muscle.

However, the pain got worse on returning home, and she booked a GP appointment. Upon seeing her doctor, who believed she could have a blood clot in her lung, Ros was told to go to hospital immediately.

Chest cans showed a dark shadow on Ros’ liver and she was then sent for an MRI scan which found cancerous cells on her liver.

She was then sent to St Helens Hospital, where she was diagnosed with stage four terminal bowel cancer and told secondary cancer cells had also spread to her liver and lymph nodes.

As she was given the devastating news, doctors tragically told her she had between 18 months and five years left to live.

Despite going in for chemotherapy multiple times, it was unsuccessful. In May this year, Ros started a different course of chemotherapy after being determined to try every option available in order to prolong her life.

But despite having battled the disease for months, Ros continued her incredible work and used her story to raise awareness, urging others to know their own bodies.

Tragically, the mum from Gateacre, Liverpool passed away at the age of 43 on October 3 surrounded by her friends and family at Marie Curie hospice.

Tributes have since been pouring in for the “amazing” headteacher, who always knew she wanted a career in teaching, with one person saying: “The most amazing woman. I was so lucky to know her and have my children welcomed with open arms into her school family.

“I have such fond memories of her. A true inspiration to so many. Sleep tight Ros. Sending so much love to John, Maggie and all of family and friends.”

And another person added: “Just the loveliest headteacher I’ve ever worked with. Ros always made me feel so welcome at Weston, and warmth and kindness radiated from her.

“She cared so much for all of her pupils and staff. Sending heartfelt condolences to her family. Rest in peace, beautiful lady.”

A third person described just how wonderful Ros was of a teacher, saying: “Such a beautiful person inside and out. Weston will never be the same again.

“Such an amazing head, who truly put the kids first. My girls miss you so much. Thinking of your little girl and family at this heartbreaking time. Good night, god bless Mrs Atkins”

And a second echoed this, writing: “I met this lovely lady once when I visited the school as a new teacher. She was so bubbly and friendly and had so much love for the job, she made a real impression on me and I never forgot her. What a huge loss to education Sending so much love to her family and friends at such a sad time.”

While another added: “Absolutely gutted, she was a fabulous teacher with a heart of gold who had time for everyone, thinking of her family at this sad time.”

One person who helped care for Ros wrote: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to help care for Ros. Such a beautiful person inside and out You touched all our hearts at Marie Curie Our thoughts and prayers are with John and Maggie always.”

Following Ros’s decision to look for alternative chemotherapy treatments, she tragically developed sepsis. And after being told there was nothing more that could be done, she went to Marie Curie on September 27.

In a bid to thank staff for all of their support to the family, Husband John Atkins set up a fundraiser as he wanted to give something back.