College pays tribute to popular lecturer

Staff and students at Furness College have paid tribute to a much-loved and respected member of staff who died earlier this month.

Frank Cairns was a popular lecturer at the Channelside campus and one of the longest-serving employees.

Described as having a huge passion for education, he started in 1985 and has lectured on both technical engineering and construction courses.

Leading the tributes Deputy Principal Curriculum and Quality Mark Nicholson said everyone had been saddened by the death of Frank, of Haverigg, who was 60.

“I have worked with him for over 30 years and he has always been one of the big personalities and great teachers that makes Furness College such a great place to work and learn.  We will all miss him and our thoughts are with his close family and friends.”

Principal and chief executive Andrew Wren added: “Although I only worked with Frank for three years, I saw immediately that he was very well respected and had made a lasting mark on the College. We will all miss him.”

Head of Area for Technical and Build Engineering Kate Coleburn, who was his manager, said he had been an immense help to her in a professional and personal capacity.

“The response to the news of his passing from students and colleagues has been overwhelming. He was so well-liked and respected in every corner of the college and it seems Barrow and further afield.

“However sad a time this is and regardless of how upset we all are, somehow all the conversations and stories we’re sharing involving Frank always end up in laughter. It’s a true credit to his personality. Frank was such a genuine, thoughtful and enthusiastic person who loved nothing more than a good mickey take! We will miss him so much.”

His friend and colleague Gordon Higgins said Frank was always conscientious about his work and strived to do the best for his students.

“We started here together thinking we could change the world as fresh starts and became firm friends not only in college but outside of college. Frank had a unique style of teaching, he was very approachable and good humoured and enjoyed the banter with the students. He loved to be involved in the college community and enjoyed visiting workrooms and offices to find out what was going on. Frank was a dear friend who will be sadly missed.”

Head of Human Resources Megan Hughes said he was of those characters that all staff knew, regardless of where they were based at the college.

“When I joined the college as an apprentice back in 2004, I remember Frank being the best induction I could have ever had, I think I knew everything about everyone within a week, but only good things to say of course.”

Former students Rob White and Simon Collins have both paid tribute to their former tutor.

Rob said he met Frank four years ago to discuss the foundation degree course and was impressed by his huge enthusiasm and energy.

“I have no doubt that Frank is an incredibly sad loss to all that knew him and, in particular Furness College, which he was so passionate about. What an absolute giant of a character ­- never to be forgotten.”

Simon said: “Frank was an amazing tutor, great leader and wonderful, kind and caring person who was always willing to help as much as possible.”

Frank, who had battled cancer, leaves behind his wife Christine, daughter Charlotte and son Andrew, he was extremely proud of their achievements and spoke about them with great pride.

His funeral will take place on Wednesday 16th January at 3pm at Our Lady and St James’ Church in Millom.

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