Tributes paid to popular former West Park Headteacher

18 June 2022

Hundreds of tributes have been paid online to former West Park School headteacher, Brian Walker MBE, who sadly passed away in the early hours of 13th June 2022 following a recent cancer diagnosis.

The popular teacher dedicated more than 45 years of his life to teaching - 21 of them as headteacher at West Park School. He's widely credited with turning the school around and making it one of Derby’s most successful secondary schools. He retired from West Park in 2018 but still remained active within the Derby education community. 

After sharing the sad news of his death via a post on our Facebook page, hundreds of tributes and condolences poured in from former colleagues, pupils and parents.

Comments were shared not only by those who knew him from West Park School but also from his previous roles at Chellaston and Sinfin schools, demonstrating the lasting impact that he had had throughout his teaching career. They included messages describing Mr Walker as "a fantastic teacher", "a lovely man" and a "role model and inspiration to so many".

The many tributes from former pupils included:

"Such sad news but what a legacy he built at West Park. Influenced so many young lives through his incredible leadership and passion for his job. RIP Mr Walker." - Gareth Lee

"God speed Mr Walker. The best head teacher, role model and inspiration to so many of us former students. Condolences to his family and friends" - Bianca Bancroft

"RIP Mr Walker, you were truly loved and respected by all the students and left such a profound impact on us all. Condolences to his friends and family x" - Thomas Biggin

"I was at West Park when he joined and the positive change in the school was immediate and palpable. You really felt like he cared and he truly listened to you, a rare quality at the time in that school. He was very well respected by all of the students. Amazing teacher." - Sarah J Atkins

"Mr Walker was my English teacher in the 90s for a time at Chellaston. He was amazing at his job with just the right amount of humour. I remember him telling stories about his family in assemblies. Rest in peace Mr Walker x" - Carla Curley

"Epitomised the word Gentleman! An extremely well respected Headteacher and a great character. Will be missed by all. Xx" - Danny Greenall

Many parents of former West Park pupils also expressed their gratitude, including:

"So sorry to hear this sad news, what an incredible head teacher all 3 of our children were lucky to have him at the helm. RIP condolences to all his family, friends and colleagues x" - Clare Hill

"Lovely man, brilliant head teacher, such sad news. RIP Mr Walker, thanks for everything you did for my girls. Sending love to his family x" - Joanne Banks

"Mr Walker was a brilliant Head Master at West Park School and we were very fortunate to have our daughter go there while he was Head. When she wanted to do Triple Science and it wasn’t an option he listened to her and made it happen. Condolences to his family. RIP Mr Walker." - Jane Ashley

Tributes were also left by former colleagues of Mr Walker, including:

"I feel really privileged to have worked for Brian as his PA for the time he was at West Park. He loved the children under his care, may have been too hard for some but they all respected this as did the staff. I will always class him as a gentleman and a gentleman in all ways." - Wendy Mayles

"A great mentor to me when I first became a head. So sad that he didn’t enjoy his retirement as he deserved. Deepest sympathies to his family." - Alan Brady

All the tributes and comments can be read on the post by clicking here.

A memorial service for Brian is expected to be held at Derby Cathedral at a later date and time to be confirmed.

Our thoughts are with Brian's family, friends and former West Park colleagues at this sad time.