'A true lover of life' - Emotional tributes paid after Teesside teacher dies of COVID-19

Emotional tributes are being paid after the death of a Teesside teacher to COVID-19.

Paul Hilditch taught Engineering and Technology at Conyers School in Yarm, where he'd worked for four years.

He sadly passed away on December 27th, aged just 55.

Paul Hilditch Credit: Family photo

The school paid tribute to him, describing him as "a truly dedicated, caring and well-loved member of staff."

"He was a fantastic teacher who thought so much of his students and really gave his all to ensure they achieved their best. Paul was a true inspiration to many and, for our students, he worked tirelessly to ensure their success.

"His passion for electronics in particular has had a powerful impact on our students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in engineering. Paul loved our school and our students: he will be remembered as a kind, devoted and truly brilliant teacher.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Paul’s friends and family at this time."

His three children Emily, Adam and Camille Hilditch, say he was a 'true lover of life' who never wasted a single day given to him.

Credit: Family photo

"His positive and outgoing personality meant that even during the most difficult times, he’d still be smiling and using his “can-do” attitude to pull us through. 

"For 35 years, he was a Technology teacher in the local area; a subject which he found fascinating, taking great pride in passing his extensive knowledge onto the next generation. 

"Outside of his career, his hobbies and interests were vast; a keen historian, he helped to set up one of the largest reenacting groups in the UK. In its 15-year history, the Northern World War 2 Association ignited a passion for history in countless people.

"He was compelled by nature and the outdoors; only in the summer, Dad helped us descend a mountain in the Lake District via compass bearings after a thick fog obscured our path.

He was captivated by the beauty of the River Tees. We share his passion for the outdoors, and when we revisit the countless paths we shared with Dad, it’ll feel like he’s alongside us. When we look at our own lives; our passions, career paths in the technology industry, and (questionable) music tastes, we are only beginning to appreciate the colossal impact dad had on our own journeys.

Emily, Adam and Camille Hilditch, Paul's daughters and son

"We count ourselves so lucky to have had such a close relationship with dad, the list of happy memories we shared is simply too long to count. He will inspire us for the rest of our lives.

"Rest easy dad, and wherever you are, I hope you’re able to find a decent pub, some good company, and some quality ales."

Paul Hilditch, having drinks with his family Credit: Family photo

Diana Hilditch, Paul’s mother said: "His aim in life, right from the start, was to be ‘action man’. He joined the army cadets as a teenager which enabled him to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and complete his ‘A’ Levels in 6th form.

"Paul then went to Crewe & Alsager college to make his future career in teaching, which he so loved. His great love of life however, was re-enacting. He first started with the American Civil War and then the Second World War. This was the love of Paul’s life – he had finally become ‘action man.’

Credit: Family photo

"He will be so missed by all who were lucky enough to have had the pleasure of his company. Paul was a truly wonderful and loved son, brother to John and James, father to Emily, Camille and Adam, Uncle to Izzy and James and brother-in-law to Zoe. Always in our hearts and will never be forgotten."