Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Blackburn College teacher

This Is Lancashire: Mr Pickles, who died after a long illness Mr Pickles, who died after a long illness

COLLEAGUES and students have paid tribute to an ‘inspirational’ art teacher.

Steve Pickles, set up the first art degree course in Blackburn, which has launched generations of talent from Blackburn College’s University Centre.

The college said its whole community was grieving the news that the 63-year-old, who taught in Blackburn for over 20 years, had died following a long illness.

As hundreds of people prepare to attend a memorial event next week, Blackburn Museum is also set to launch an exhibition of his work in the near future.

The retained firefighter started at the college in 1992 teaching drawing and painting, and working as a personal tutor.

He led on the development of a new BA (Hons) Fine Art programme with Lancaster University, which he wrote and continued to amend and improve until he became ill in June last year.

Blackburn artist and taxidermist Nicola Hebson said she had been shocked by the news.

She said: “He was my teacher for five years and he is the person who encouraged me to keep going with my art and to pursue my taxidermy.

“It is a shock because he was one of those people who are full of life and you just think they are going to live forever.

“He was amazing at keeping people calm. People would come into class all stressed about their work and he would just make everything seem really easy and straightforward.

“He was just a wonderful teacher and really inspirational to us all.”

Originally from Bradford, Steve moved to Blackburn when he took up the college post, starting at the same time as colleague Richard Peregrine.

He said: “I used to call him Peter Pan because he stayed so young. He moved and looked like a 25-year-old. It’s been hard for us all but what we remember is that he lived and breathed art and education.”

A memorial event for those who remember Steve will be held at Barzooka in Victoria Street, Blackburn from 5pm on Monday.

Comments (5)

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3:27pm Fri 11 Jul 14

noddy57 says...

A glowing tribute to a teacher that reminds me of one such inspirational teacher who l never appreciated enough only with the passing of time did their contribution really hit home . Just goes to show that we never realise what we have got untill its gone.
A glowing tribute to a teacher that reminds me of one such inspirational teacher who l never appreciated enough only with the passing of time did their contribution really hit home . Just goes to show that we never realise what we have got untill its gone. noddy57
  • Score: 27

4:29pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Positive_Is_Compulsory says...

This is such a shock, I knew him during my years doing art & design at Blackburn college, he was a nice man and very polite, I send my condolences to his friends and family.
This is such a shock, I knew him during my years doing art & design at Blackburn college, he was a nice man and very polite, I send my condolences to his friends and family. Positive_Is_Compulsory
  • Score: 21

5:35pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Genna_89 says...

Such sad news! Steve took my life drawing lesson a few years ago and he was such a talented teacher. R.I.P you will be sadly missed. What an inspirational man. I send my condolences to his family :( ****
Such sad news! Steve took my life drawing lesson a few years ago and he was such a talented teacher. R.I.P you will be sadly missed. What an inspirational man. I send my condolences to his family :( **** Genna_89
  • Score: 16

8:00pm Fri 11 Jul 14

LancashireLass13 says...

I was lucky enough to be taught by Steve when I did my art foundation course. He was one of the most inspirational teachers I've had the privilege to have met. So very sad to hear this news. I've no doubt he inspired many students. Amazing chap. Condolences to his family.
I was lucky enough to be taught by Steve when I did my art foundation course. He was one of the most inspirational teachers I've had the privilege to have met. So very sad to hear this news. I've no doubt he inspired many students. Amazing chap. Condolences to his family. LancashireLass13
  • Score: 15

11:15am Sun 13 Jul 14

ladysal says...

RIP to one of the most genuinely nice people I ever had the fortune to meet and work with. And I am shocked by his age. If you asked me I would have said late forties.
RIP to one of the most genuinely nice people I ever had the fortune to meet and work with. And I am shocked by his age. If you asked me I would have said late forties. ladysal
  • Score: 1
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