Parents of inspirational schoolteacher Adam Pickles raise money for SHINE in his memory

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Adam and his son Ben.

The parents of an inspirational schoolteacher who cared passionately about educating children from disadvantaged backgrounds are raising money for SHINE in his memory.

Adam Pickles passed away on 3rd January 2021, aged 48, after a brave eight-year battle to overcome traumatic brain injuries. He had required around-the-clock care since 2012 when he was violently assaulted in Thailand. Adam had lived in the country for several years, working as head of English at Regents International School.

Adam’s son Ben, who was just eight months old at the time of the attack, now studies at the school where his dad taught.

“Teaching was Adam’s life, his passion. I remember him once saying that he couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” said Adam’s mum, Adele. “That’s why we chose to support SHINE.

“We felt that it’s a cause he would have really supported. It helps children in the area where Adam lived, the area where he was educated – he was born in Keighley, he went to school in Bradford – it just seemed appropriate.

“I think he’d be happy to know that we were raising money to help educate children that were struggling in some way.”

Pictured in happier times: Adam, right, with partner Pafan, left, and his parents, Adele and Andrew.

Adam initially trained to teach English as a foreign language and taught in a language school in London before moving abroad. He taught in Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil before returning home to Yorkshire.

While teaching at Wakefield Cathedral School (now Trinity Academy Cathedral), he took a postgraduate certificate in education.

After five years teaching English in Wakefield, Adam moved to Thailand in 2007.

“All the time that he worked as a teacher he always looked out for the underprivileged,” said Adele.

Aside from his teaching at the international school, Adam worked with children from poor backgrounds, taking them books and teaching them to read. “They were so thirsty for knowledge,” Adele said. “They just wanted to learn.”

Outgoing and gregarious, Adam made friends all over the world, and he delighted in sharing his passion for music and sport.

Keen musician Adam teaching with colleague Tom Rawlings.

“He loved all the extracurricular elements of school,” said Adele. “He was a very good musician, so he would always get involved in musical activities with the kids. And he loved sport so, when he was in Thailand, he coached the junior football team.

“He really put in the hours. He was always doing something for the children.”

Adam’s dad, Andrew, said: “We received a message from the head at the school in Thailand where Adam worked, saying that the techniques and methods that he introduced would be his legacy, because other teachers have adopted them, and they still live on within the school.

“He took a very new and original approach to teaching wherever possible, to get the children interested and involved and I believe this really inspired them. That’s why, I think, so many of them have been in touch – even after all these years – to say how significant he was in their lives.

Dozens of Adam’s students and colleagues have posted messages online, sharing their memories of an inspirational teacher.

Adam was ‘that’ teacher. The inspirational teacher that goes out of his way to help people, the type of teacher you read good news stories about. He helped steer mine, and lots of other people's lives.

One of Adam's former students.

One of his former colleagues at Cathedral School wrote: “Adam has had a lifelong impact on me. He made me feel at ease as a new teacher. He quickly made me feel special. He inspired me. He made me laugh. He clearly has had this impact on many people. I am very thankful I met Adam.”

A former student said: “Adam was ‘that’ teacher. The inspirational teacher that goes out of his way to help people, the type of teacher you read good news stories about. He helped steer mine, and lots of other people’s lives.”

Another commented: “I will always remember him as the teacher that made learning exciting, the lessons I would always look forward to, such an amazing and truly inspiring man who touched so many lives.”

Adam and his son Ben, pictured in 2019.

Many more tributes and photographs of Adam can be found on a website set up in his memory, adampickles.muchloved.com/.

A message on the site reads: “Adam’s death has left a huge gap in so many people’s lives and hearts, but we hope that all the happy memories we all have of him will live on and help to ease any sadness. Adam was the most positive and fun-loving guy on the planet, and this will be how he would want to be remembered.”

While Adam was brought back to England for treatment his son Ben remained in Thailand where he has been brought up by his mum – Adam’s partner, Pafan. He visits his grandparents every year and they say he is wise beyond his nine years and has been a huge support to the whole family.

Adam’s funeral takes place on Friday 29th January. Covid restrictions mean numbers are strictly limited, however, it is hoped to hold a wider celebration of Adam’s life once the restrictions are lifted.

To donate to Adam’s memorial fund, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adampickles.