A WOMAN who devoted her life to inspiring children has died suddenly.
Lesley Franks set up business mentor schemes in schools across the city and helped young people get into work during her time with Wakefield College, Wakefield Connections and Compact Education Business Services.
Mrs Franks, 46, died suddenly in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after a short illness.
She had only been in the country for 10 weeks after moving with husband Paul and their 12-year-old daughter.
Former Silcoates history teacher Mr Franks had landed a job at a school in Jeddah.
Mr Franks, 48, said: “She was one in a million.
“She was a motivated individual who was incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about helping young people in Wakefield achieve their potential.
“She was so committed to Wakefield and after moving to Saudi she kept up to date with what was happening through the Express website.
“It is still a shock. We have had hundreds of messages from friends all over the world, who are devastated.”
The couple had lived in Belle Vue, Horbury, Ossett and Liversedge before they moved.
Mrs Franks had worked at Asda in Kettlethorpe and was shop manager of Readicut in Horbury before retraining to become a careers adviser.
She worked for Wakefield College, Wakefield Connections and then Compact Education Business Services.
She also supported Wakefield Adoption Group and Wakefield Hospice.
Some of her projects included organising children from Kettlethorpe to visit the House of Commons and raising the profile of Janet Oldroyd’s rhubarb farm by getting it featured on national television.
Close friend Kate Browne, 46, of Horbury, added: “She was very outgoing and chatty, but also caring and passionate about helping children.
“She showed inspirational strength and bravery through the difficult times she faced. She was a very kind and special person.”
“We are devastated and still in shock.”
A funeral will take place in her birth town of Newcastle.
Mr Franks said he hoped to hold a celebration of her life at the Primrose Hall in Horbury, with a date to be fixed.