THE children of Langley Fitzurse CE Primary School said a fitting goodbye to a light of their lives this week, when they held a rainbow-themed memorial day for cancer victim, Diane Schofield.

Mrs Schofield, 53, died in June following an eight-year battle with breast cancer.

The wife of the Reverend John Schofield, 56, pastor of the Union Chapel, which is next door to the school in Kington Langley, near Chippenham, Mrs Schofield was an important part of school life, regularly enchanting the children with her stories, sign language classes and her hand puppet Dougie.

When she became terminally ill earlier this year, Mrs Schofield discussed her death with the children and together they came up with a fitting way to honour her and her love of rainbows.

"Diane was such a fantastic person and was so well-loved by the children, they we all wanted to honour her in a very special way," said headteacher Lynn Evans.

"Diane saw rainbows as a message of God's love, so all of the children dressed in rainbow colours on Monday and enjoyed a fun-filled day, sharing their thoughts of her."

The Rainbow Day began with a special memorial service at the Union Chapel, in which the children said prayers for Mrs Schofield.

During the day, they also learned sign language from 15-year-old Sheldon School pupil Richard Humphries and his mother, Mary, who is deaf.

In a final fitting tribute, the children released 100 Dorothy House Hospice helium-filled balloons, with messages to Diane, into the sky.

The Reverend Schofield, known as Pastor John to the children, described the day as a perfect memorial for his wife.

"It has been a great joy to my heart," he said. It has incorporated so much of Diane and the joy and encouragement she brought to others.

"All through her years of illness, it was God who enabled her to stand firm and to use her experience to share with others the love God has for them."

Mr and Mrs Schofield's daughter, Amy, nine, who is also a pupil at Langley Fitzurse, was an important part of the celebrations.

"Diane's death has been hard for all of us, but the support Diane, Amy and I have been given by the school's staff, parents, children and governors has been immeasurable," said Rev Schofield.

"I am also very pleased that all the money raised today by the rainbow badges which have been sold and by the special disco this afternoon, will go towards the Dorothy House Hospice.

"All the staff were wonderful in the way they helped to care for Diane at home during the last few days of her life and it is lovely to know that something so good will come from our loss."

Mrs Evans said: "Diane was in the middle of teaching the children sign language and asked them to carry on learning it after she had passed away."

"Diane enjoyed reading with the pupils and also organised events in the village, which everyone loved. She touched all of our lives."

She added: "Sending the balloons up into the sky was the children's' idea, because they wanted to send Diane their hugs and kisses.

"The children didn't go to Diane's funeral, but they sent a huge floral rainbow."

Mrs Schofield was diagnosed with breast cancer three times during the last eight and half years and suffered kidney failure last year.

Thanks to the Dorothy House Hospice Hospice at Home service, she was able to spend her last few days with her husband and daughter. The memorial service, held at the Union Chapel on Monday, was also attended by Sarah Whitfield, chief executive of Dorothy House.