Family’s sadness at death of caretaker

Airy Hill caretaker Paul Gale
Airy Hill caretaker Paul Gale

THE FAMILY of a Whitby caretaker found dead inside the school he worked at have spoken of their shock at his sudden death and the legacy he will leave behind to help others in need.

Paul Gale (53) had worked at Airy Hill School for six years and was found dead inside the school by staff opening up the building last month.

His death has left his family, friends and the school community in shock.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into his death which is not being treated as suspicious.

Paul, whose nickname was Bertie, lived with his mum Moyra (77) and brother Andy at Spital Bridge.

They last saw him two days before he was found dead.

Moyra said: ”We are absolutely shocked and saddened.

“When you go through childbirth they tell you about the pain, but they don’t tell you about the pain when you lose them.

“When the policeman came and knocked on the door it was so out of the blue to see him stood there.”

Paul was originally from West Yorkshire and moved to Whitby with his mum and Andy in 1997.

At the age of 18, he was working as an apprentice brick layer a job he really loved but he was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering fits and was unable to continue working in the trade.

Paul’s family said being unable to pursue his chosen career plunged him into a deep depression he battled with the mental illness throughout his life.

He also had to surrender his driving license as a result of the diagnosis which had a big impact on his life

For many years, Paul worked as landscape gardener for Bradford Metropolitan Council, and was able to put his gardening skills to good use while working at Airy Hill School where he looked after the plants and wildlife.

Moyra added: “The number of people that have come to our door since his death, we have been gobsmacked by. I haven’t had a clue who they all are.

“He loved his job and he loved the kids.

“He took great pride in his job too.

“Everyone said he couldn’t do enough, he was a people pleasure.

“He went beyond the call of duty in everything he did.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the people who have helped and supported myself and my family come to terms through Paul’s untimely death.”

At Paul’s cremation in Scarborough, his family collected donations from mourners and they hope to use the money to help people suffering from epilepsy and from depression.

A beach BBQ at Saltwick is also planned for the summer which family and friends will be invited to in honour of Paul to raise more funds.

Staff at Airy Hill School also plan to plant a memorial tree in the school grounds to remember him.

Paul never married or had children although his family said he had girlfriends over the years.

Moyra said: “I used to say don’t you want to get married and have children.

“I do think reading between the lines he was scared he would not have been a good father.

“I said to him he would have been a brilliant dad.

“He adored his nieces and nephews.”

Prior to Paul’s death, he was hit hard by the death of an uncle who died just before Christmas in Leeds.

Paul’s brother Andy added: “He was a very sensitive person and he was a very, very kind and caring brother.

“By starting the charitable foundations, we hope to help other people like Paul.”

Paul leaves behind Moyra, Andy, his other brothers Michael and Richard and sister Diane.

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