Elizabeth Crannigan was born in 1927 in Warrington Lancashire.  Her parents were a WWI veteran and a housewife.  Tragically, both parents had died by the time she was 10 years old, and she and her 3 brothers were raised by their spinster Aunt Clara who undoubtedly would have struggled with the responsibility of caring for 4 orphaned children.

The difficulties young Elizabeth Crannigan faced in her early life shaped her for a lifetime of wanting to make a difference in the lives of others, especially those who were marginalised in some way.

On finishing school, Elizabeth went to London to study Art.  Her early art and design career included designing the artwork for well-known British chocolatiers Beeches Chocolates who recently celebrated over 100 years in business and for Sandersons, renowned wallpaper manufacturers.

In the late 1960’s, now a mother herself and with a passion for children and education, Elizabeth returned to study at Ilkley College of Further Education and gained a teaching qualification.  She was a passionate and creative art and remedial English teacher with a natural talent for hands-on craftwork, no doubt inherited from her carpenter father.

Challenging the gender myths of the time, she went on to teach metalwork and woodwork, eventually becoming the Head of the Craft Department at Ilkley School.  Mrs Crannigan used her classroom as an opportunity for students who struggled with mainstream subjects to discover their passion and strengths through creative work.

Outside the classroom, Mrs Crannigan continued to express her own creativity through watercolour painting and was an active and engaged member of the Ilkley Art Club.  During a trip to New York, she was invited to exhibit later that year in Philadelphia where her watercolours exhibition was a great success.  This was a special highlight in her artistic career.

After her retirement from teaching, Mrs Crannigan enjoyed travelling and had many happy trips to The States, Australia and New Zealand to visit friends and family.

She was widowed in 1998 with the death of her husband Tony, and 8 years later experienced further untimely grief with the death of her son Nicholas from cancer.  For someone who lost their parents at a very young age, to also lose a child seems very unjust.  But Elizabeth Crannigan had a special resilience and fortitude that she is especially remembered for.

In 2016 she suffered a debilitating fall which she wasn’t expected to recover from and was taken to the Gables Nursing Home to be cared for in her ‘last weeks’.  However, she confounded the experts by living and enjoying special times with her family for another 5 years before eventually passing away on September the 8th 2021.

The impact of education comes in many forms, including the teachers at school who leave a lasting imprint.  Mrs Crannigan’s students will no doubt remember her as the teacher that made them feel seen and valued.  She in turn greatly admired those students who, despite their difficult life circumstances, used her classroom to discover their creative passions, purpose and hands-on skills they could take with them in life.

It is with this in mind, that her daughter Margaret and family have chosen to honour her memory with a Kate Edger Trust Award recognising the resilience and achievement of a Kate Edger Awardee who has overcome adversity to achieve their education goals.