SCHOOLS across West Lancs have paid tribute to an educational advisor tragically killed in the Nepal plane crash.
Timothy Oakes, 57, died last Friday alongside six other Britons when a light aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Kathmandu. A mass will be held tomorrow in his memory.
The keen mountaineer had flown out to Nepal on “a trip of a lifetime” to the base camp at Mt Everest and had been due to begin trekking in the Himalayas later that day.
Mr Oakes, from Warrington, worked for Lancashire County Council as an advisor to secondary schools in West Lancashire.
Last Saturday, Ormskirk School dedicated a concert to mark the school’s 400th anniversary to Mr Oakes, and head teacher John Doyle praised his role in the school’s success and his support over the last four years.
He said: “It was a real shock on Friday, hard to take in and understand. We had a really good relationship, if he didn’t think we were doing something well enough he would challenge us but he was always very respectful and when we were doing something right really supportive. “He was a former head teacher himself so knew what the job was like. No one had a bad word to say about him and he was the best school advisor we have had since I have been here.”
Meanwhile Our Lady Queen of Peace college in Skelmersdale is preparing to hold a mass for the whole school in his memory on Friday at 9am, and has invited representatives from other high schools in the area to take part.
Jonathan Smart, Our Lady’s head teacher, told how Mr Oakes had spoken excitedly of the trip in a visit to the school just days before flying out.
He said: “We had a meeting for three hours and he was really excited talking about his itinerary. When we heard what had happened we couldn’t believe it, is such a tragedy.
“He was a trusted colleague and a friend who was always at the end of the phone and offered support and encouragement to us and all the other schools he worked with too.”
James Harris, head of Glenburn Sports College, said: “He had the skill to be both approachable but also asked tough questions. I will miss him both on a personal level and very much on a professional level.”
William Hughes, deputy head at St Bede’s, said: “Tim had a very close working relationship with many head teachers. We prayed for him as a staff and will be joining the mass at Our Lady’s.”