Otley headteacher died suddenly at home

Wharfedale Observer: Andy Pickles, headteacher of Cookridge Holy Trinity School Andy Pickles, headteacher of Cookridge Holy Trinity School

The funeral service of 53-year-old headteacher Andy Pickles has been held in Otley.

Mr Pickles, who lived in the town and taught at Cookridge Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, died unexpectedly at home on Sunday, March 4.

A funeral service was held at the Bridge Street United Reformed Church on Tuesday, followed by a cremation at Rawdon Crematorium.

Mr Pickles’ wife Anne said she and his two adult sons, Alastair and Edward, had been inundated with messages of support.

She said: “We've had lots of messages from everybody and been overwhelmed with cards and flowers, and the school has opened a condolence book.”

Mr Pickles had worked in corporate finance until he switched to teaching at the age of 40.

As headteacher of Harewood C of E Primary, he helped the school secure an outstanding Ofsted report, before taking over as headteacher at Holy Trinity four years ago.

His school has put the following in memoriam message on the home page of its website: “We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mr Pickles, a wonderful man, and the esteemed headteacher of Cookridge Holy Trinity Primary School.”

Donations were accepted, in lieu of flowers, for the Depression Alliance at Tuesday’s church service.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Pickles by former colleagues.

The Rev John Hamilton, chairman of governors at Holy Trinity Primary School, said: “Everyone at the school is deeply saddened by the death of our headteacher Andy Pickles.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very sad time. We’ve spoken to all the children and will continue to offer support to them and our colleagues, in partnership with the Diocese and Leeds City Council’s education psychologists.”

The Rev Clive Sedgewick, Diocesan director of education of the Ripon Diocese, said: “Members of the Diocesan Education Team and Board of Education are extremely saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Andy Pickles.

“Andy was the much-loved, respected and very successful headteacher of Holy Trinity and previously of Harewood C of E Primary School. Officers of the diocese and Local Authority are working together to support the school at this tragic time. Our thoughts and prayers go to Andy’s family, friends, colleagues and the children of the school.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said staff would be offering support to children.

“We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of Andy Pickles, a fantastic and well-loved head teacher,” he said.

“We are currently working closely with the school to ensure pupils and staff receive the support they need to come to terms with this tragic loss. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this very sad time.”

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