Peter Elliott obituary

Other lives: Head of Wakefield Adult and Community Education Service

My friend Peter Elliott, who has died suddenly aged 70, was a teacher and careers adviser who set up the adult and community education service in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which under his management gained a national reputation. It was also cited by Ofsted as an exemplar for other local education authorities.

He was a prime mover in securing a multimillion pound EU-funded programme to develop lifelong learning centres across the Wakefield district, which remain an important part of the area’s regeneration strategy.

Pete was born in Lincoln, the oldest of three children, to Raymond, a timber merchant, and Dorothy (nee Willows), a local government clerk. He attended Lincoln boys’ grammar school and in 1966 went to Durham University to study classics. Moving to Leeds in 1969, he took a postgraduate teaching course and started his career at Bradford College. In 1973 he joined the careers service in Wakefield and in 1991 was appointed head of Wakefield Adult and Community Education Service, tasked with establishing it from scratch.

When he retired in 2006 he led a University of the Third Age course on Yorkshire history and was a committee member at Wakefield Jazz club, where his experience of fundraising helped to attract top musicians. He also chaired the governing body of Pinderfields hospital school in Wakefield, which provides education for children who are temporarily unable to attend school because of medical or mental health problems.

Pete loved rugby league, and every year organised a trip with friends to the Challenge Cup final at Wembley. He was a member of Yorkshire county cricket club, where he got friends advance tickets for Headingley Test matches, and was also a keen walker, especially in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales.

The day before he died, Pete held his 70th birthday party at Wakefield Labour Club, known as “The Red Shed”. Most of the friends he had made over the years were there to celebrate his life and to thank him for enriching theirs.

In 2006 he married Sandra (nee Hesling), an adult and community education officer whom he met at work. She survives him, as do two daughters, Jo and Clare, from his first marriage, to Sue (nee Rowan), which ended in divorce, and two siblings, Barbara and John.

Brian Wraight

The GuardianTramp

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