15th May 2009 at 01:00
Brian Pollock, principal teacher of chemistry at Bathgate Academy, died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 26, at the age of 56, after a heart attack on his way home from school

Brian was born in West Lothian and remained a West Lothian man, setting up home with his wife, Margaret, in Bathgate, Broxburn and then Livingston. Brian was educated in Armadale before going to Edinburgh University, where he qualified with honours in biochemistry in 1974.

He then took a gap year, trying out several occupations, before going to Moray House in Edinburgh to train as a teacher. He qualified in 1976 and returned to teach in his home town at the academy in Armadale, teaching both chemistry and biology. He quickly became involved in the schools' football after-school club and became a crew member of the Armadale rafting team, which took part in the World River Rafting Championships on the River Tay in 1982 and 1983.

Brian was an integral part of the school ethos and took his teaching very personally. A large number of pupils have him to thank for their achievements. He made education understandable and achievable for all. This success resulted in his achieving the worthy status of principal teacher of chemistry. He then made a sideways move which took him out of his "comfort zone" when he became principal teacher of chemistry at Bathgate Academy, bringing with him his own unique style of teaching and his ability to build up relationships wherever he went.

Anyone who knew Brian will know he was rarely on the "back foot" and always had a big, glowing smile on his face, putting everyone at ease. Although he always seemed to be in a hurry, he would inevitably be late for every occasion. Because of his huge character, this was accepted by all who knew him.

Brian will be sadly missed, not only by close family and friends, but by colleagues, parents and past and present pupils. Through the sadness, many will have happy memories of Brian. Scotland has lost an excellent and much respected teacher.

Donald Naysmith, former head of PE at Armadale Academy


I worked beside Brian at Armadale Academy and remember him as a teacher totally committed to his pupils, a great role model for young teachers, and a wonderful colleague.

Brian was an incredibly popular and talented teacher who helped guide generations of pupils through their years at school. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.

Gordon Ford, West Lothian Council's director of education and cultural services.

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