TRIBUTES have been paid to a respected and much-loved teacher from the North East who died suddenly aged 56.
Michael Patrick Hall, known to his friends and family as Mick, worked at Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington.
The married father-of-two from Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, had worked at the academy since 2009 as a motor vehicle tutor, previously working at Hirst High and other high schools in the county.
He also worked with the learner support unit at the academy, which offers help and guidance to pupils who may be struggling with their lessons or behaviour.
Mick was well known for “offering his calm and sound support with their learning”.
His friend and colleague Eddie Scott, who is the academy’s director for community and extended schools, said: “Mick was a big man in both stature and personality.
“He was the fourth emergency service to many staff as he repaired breakdowns, changed brakes and gave knowledgeable advice. He was generous and warm.
“Originally from Gateshead, he was passionate about motorbikes and had worked for Just Harleys in Morpeth, preparing machines for many years before coming into teaching.
“He made a great impression on the learners he taught, and they are going to miss his fatherly presence and guidance.”
Mick was also well known in the British BMX circles and spent many weekends away with his 18-year-old son, Jack, touring the length and breadth of the country at meetings and race events.
Mr Scott added: “He was a proud family man who, with his wife, Michelle, has a daughter, Elizabeth, at university in Manchester and a son who is a Junior British BMX champion.”
Tributes have also been posted on the online forum BMX Talk.
One poster wrote: “Mick is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and I spent many weekends away with him and Jack racing and training and I enjoyed every single minute I spent with him and Jack.
“Mick was the sort of guy that no matter what part of the country we went to he would have everyone wanting to talk with him. He was larger than life and lived a good life, but sadly it’s ended too soon.”
Another said: “I had a few beers with him at Braintree last year, and it struck me then what a devoted dad he was and that will be my lasting memory of him – the way he supported Jack.
“A thoroughly nice man. He’ll leave a big hole, I’m sure. Love to all his family.”
And one friend added: “I worked with Mick and it’s great to see that my opinion of him is shared by so many.
“He was a lovely, lovely man who was super proud of his family. I consider it an honour and a privilege to have been his friend.”
Mick died suddenly after suffering a heart attack on January 5.
A funeral service and cremation is due to be held at Mountsett Crematorium at 2.45pm today.
There will be a collection in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign.