Allegations of abuse by former Queen Mary School teacher investigated

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A number of women who were pupils of a former Fylde school are pursuing possible legal action regarding allegations of sexual abuse by an ex-teacher there, now deceased.

Andrew Gudgeon, 74, of Ribbleton, Preston, was charged with 15 offences, including sexual offences, when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates’ Court in January 2021.

He denied the charges, which dated back to the 1980s, and the case was committed to Preston Crown Court in January 2022, but Gudgeon has since died.

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Solicitor Andrew Lord, of legal firm Leigh Day, is investigating a potential civil claim against the foundation responsible for Queen Mary School, which is now closed, relating to the alleged sexual abuse.

The site of the former Queen Mary School at St AnnesThe site of the former Queen Mary School at St Annes
The site of the former Queen Mary School at St Annes
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Mr Lord said the number of pupils who have made contact with him currently numbers nine and he added: "Not all of those that I have spoken with have suggested that they want us to proceed with investigating civil cases on their behalf at this time, but it is believed that there may be many more victims of Gudgeon who have not reported their abuse."

Blackpool Magistrates Court was told at January's hearing that Gudgeon, of Dawnay Road, Ribbleton, worked as a private tutor from his home after having worked formerly at Queen Mary School.

It is understood he spent some time living in the Philippines with his wife and teaching there.

The complainants could not be identified for legal reasons.

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Queen Mary School, which was run privately and was for girls only, closed in 1999, merging with the neighbouring formerly boys-only King Edward VII School.

What became King Edward Queen Mary School then merged with Arnold School, Blackpool in 2013 to become AKS on the former King Edward site between Clifton Drive South and the Promenade at St Annes.

The Grade II-listed former Queen Mary School building is now apartments.

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