Tributes to teacher after cancer death

Richard Tolson
Richard Tolson
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Tributes have been paid to a South Yorkshire teacher who has died, aged 40.

Richard Tolson, head of music and performing arts at Barnsley College, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in February.

The Barnsley-born musician had worked at the college for 18 years. Among his former pupils were Alex Turner and Matt Helders from the Arctic Monkeys.

His popularity with pupils and staff was such that this year he won the Principal’s Staff Award for his dedication to the job.

He died on Monday at Barnsley Hospice.

Josie Whitely, director of the faculty of arts, media and entertainment, said: “His friends and colleagues – and all our students – will miss him terribly.

“He has been an inspiration over the years and has had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of young musicians and performers from Barnsley.”

Richard – known as Rich T – attended Holgate School before becoming a student at Barnsley College. He toured Europe as a classically trained pianist in his 20s and lived in Darton.

He leaves a wife, Sarah, son Ellis, 12, and daughter Laryna, nine.

The funeral will take place at St Edward’s Church, Kingstone, on Tuesday at 2.30pm.