Tributes have been paid to a former college leader who died last month.
Garry Phillips, former principal of City College Plymouth and Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, passed away shortly before Christmas. It is understood that there were no suspicious circumstances.
Mr Phillips joined City College Plymouth in the summer, and resigned in November. Prior to this, he served as principal at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London from 2014 until he joined Plymouth. He previously served as principal of New College Telford, and vice-principal for curriculum and quality at Burton and South Derbyshire College. The former apprentice also worked in several other colleges, during a career in further education spanning more than two decades.
Former colleague Dawn Ward, principal of Burton and South Derbyshire College, said she was “deeply saddened” at the news.
“I had the pleasure of working with Garry when I joined Burton College in November 2008,” she added. “Garry was already an experienced leader at the college who gave me the warmest of welcomes when I joined. His boyish charm and humour made him instantly likeable.
“His talent and dedication shone out and we quickly embarked on a cultural programme to transform the college to one that truly put learners at the heart of everything we did (something Garry believed passionately in). He was always bright, cheerful, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, always eager to learn and improve himself and those around him. For the time we worked together and for all that he did for the college‘s learners, I will be eternally grateful.
'Keen to improve the world'
“Whilst Garry was very proud of all he had achieved in the FE sector his real pride was in his wonderful family. The twinkle in his eye shone brightly whenever he talked about any of them. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time and I am saddened beyond words that our sector has lost someone whose positive impact throughout his career will be remembered, admired and valued by all of the people who were lucky enough to have truly known him.”
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Garry’s death is a great shock and very sad indeed. I last spoke to him in December about his future plans and my thoughts are now with his family.
“He worked hard as the principal at New College Telford and Ealing, Hammersmith and West London, and then briefly at City College Plymouth. He started his career as an apprentice and took on a series of challenges in colleges in the North West and Midlands. He was always keen to make a difference and to improve the world.”
Penny Wycherley, principal of City College Plymouth, said: "It is with great sadness that we heard that Garry Phillips, former principal of City College Plymouth, has tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Garry's family have asked that their grief and privacy will be respected at this time."