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‘A true gentleman who gave the gift of music’ — tributes paid to former Barnby Road Academy teacher Mr Ron Pickersgill

Many former students of a Newark music teacher who died last week have been paying tribute to him and his work.

Mr Ron Pickersgill, who was 93, was connected with Barnby Road Academy, Newark, for many years.

MUSIC TEACHER Mr Ron Pickersgill, who died last week, aged 93.
MUSIC TEACHER Mr Ron Pickersgill, who died last week, aged 93.

In a statement, the school said: “Ron was an absolutely wonderful man who worked and volunteered at the school for many, many years.

“He was a gentlemen who loved his music and always found time for the children. A true legend.”

Mr Pickersgill, of Keats Road, Balderton, taught in Newark schools for more than 60 years.

After retirement he continued visiting primary schools to voluntarily teach the recorder.

In 2016 he won the education award at Newark and District Community Awards.

He taught several generations of some families, and many former pupils have taken to social media to recall their memories.

Born in 1927, Mr Pickersgill spent his early years in Pinchbeck, near Spalding, before the family moved to Kenton in 1938, where he was educated at Kings School, Harrow, and the Royal Academy of Music.

Mr Pickersgill came to Newark via a teaching qualification gained at the University of Nottingham.

His son, Richard, said: “The telegram sent by the Director of Education to his Nottingham address and dated 10th September, 1958, reads ‘Commence duty Newark Lovers’ Lane Junior School 9 am Thursday 11th September’.

“That is less than a day to get ready for a new job and work out how to travel from Nottingham to Newark.”

A follow-up letter explained he was to teach at Lovers’ Lane in the morning and Guildhall Street School in the afternoon.

Mr Pickersgill taught at these schools and Barnby Road and Cardinal Hinsley until his retirement in 1992.

Richard said many would rem- ember his father cycling to these schools with bags of music dangling from the cycle’s handlebars.

In retirement, Mr Pickersgill continued teaching pro bono at Barnby Road and Lovers’ Lane and latterly Barnby Road School for a further 28 years.

“He greatly enjoyed working with children and seeing them develop an interest in music,” Richard said.

“In total, he brought the joy of music to the pupils, staff and families of Newark Schools for 60 years and an estimated 6,000 pupils.

“For some Newark families, three generations will have been taught music by Mr Pickersgill.

“He was characterised as being a gentleman who made music fun and sparked a life-long interest and passion for music in many that he taught, several of whom he continued to teach through their secondary school education and who have gone on to make their own careers in music.”

Tributes paid by former students included many describing him as a gentleman, and saying they had happy memories of his lessons.

“He was such a lovely man. A true gentleman and an inspiration to so many children who will always remember his name and seeing him on his bicycle,” said one.

Others recalled his kindness and encouraging manner.

“The world is a much better place because of Mr Pickersgill, a generous, kind, humble musician who encouraged hundreds of children to make music,” one said.

Mr Pickersgill leaves his wife of 62 years, Mrs Dinah Pickersgill, son Richard and wife Camilla, and grandchildren James and Isabella.

He also leaves a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Celia and Kevin, and nephews Tom, Oliver and Greg.

There will be a funeral service at St Giles’ Church, Balderton, on a date to be arranged.

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