Tributes to long-serving school teacher

Rob Plackett
Rob Plackett

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Whitby school teacher following his death aged 70.

Former Eskdale School deputy-head Rob Plackett passed away in James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough following a short battle with leukemia. His funeral was held yesterday.

Born and raised in Derbyshire, Rob trained as a teacher at Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education, where he met his late wife, Christine. The pair were married in 1966.

Rob lived and worked in Guisborough before moving to Whitby in 1977. He was appointed deputy-headteacher at Eskdale in 1986 and taught Geography at the school until his retirement 13 years ago.

Dave Bradley, a former headteacher at Eskdale, said: “It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with Rob for 10 years. He was one of kindest men that I have ever known.

“He was devoted to his family, he wanted the very best for all young people, and he was great believer in playing his part in the local community. He will be greatly missed.”

Sue Whelan, the school’s current headteacher, added: “We were deeply saddened to hear of Rob’s death and our thoughts are with his family.”

Rob was a prominent figure in the local sporting community.

He was chairman of Fishburn Park FC, a member of Whitby’s cricket and table tennis clubs an avid Whitby Town supporter and a participant in a variety of sports.

Speaking of her father’s passion for exercise, Emma Caldwell said: “ Dad was a sports enthusiast and particularly loved cricket, football, badminton, table tennis and had recently taken up bowls.”

Despite being diagnosed with cancer, Rob remained active, continuing to play various sports and completing a trans-Pennine bike ride with daughter Emma.

Having previously worked as a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics, Rob helped out at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in spite of the fact that he was ill at the time.

He combined his enthusiasm for sport with his love of travel, and railways in particular, embarking on regular journeys by train to watch Derbyshire County Cricket Club play all around the country.

Travel played a big part in Rob’s family’s lives.

Daughter Briony recalls a childhood trip to Dover that took the family through the infamous Brixton Riots, yet the children managed to sleep through the whole experience.

Following Rob and Christine’s retirement, they were able to devote more time to travelling, regularly visiting Marbella, Estapona and Ronda in Spain.

Christine died from cancer in February this year, and just a few months later, Rob himself was diagnosed with the illness.

Rob is survived by his children Johanna, Briony and Emma. He had six grandchildren; Thomas, Adam, Sophie, Isabel, Lauren and Jessica.

Paying tribute to her father, Johanna said: “We were taught our values by example – Dad lived a life of honesty and integrity and care for others.”