Tribute to Tim Leah-Adams (1978-2020)
It is with such great sadness to have to share with you the recent death of our much-loved friend, colleague and tutor Tim Leah-Adams. After being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer before Christmas, Tim passed away peacefully at St James University Hospital with his loving wife Jane at his side. This will be a dreadful shock for many who had the pleasure of knowing Tim. In a wide variety of circles and in tragic circumstances like this, the phrase ‘there are no words’ is often frequently used. Well in this case, we feel there are lots of words which could be shared to celebrate the life of a truly wonderful honorary Yorkshire gent. Some of these words may reignite memories of times you shared together and may well induce a smile or a few tears. Technology has been a great tool in these last few weeks, when we could connect and help Tim through some difficult days. Tim would definitely want us to smile though, like he constantly did, and remember the good times.
Tim simply adored his wife Jane, he was such a romantic. From getting together in 2006, he finally proposed over Easter in 2014, arranging for the ring to be placed in the middle of a very large hand crafted Easter egg! They were then married in 2015 with the ceremony at Ripon Cathedral. I think we’ve all seen the wedding video – he was so proud to have Jane as his wife and became a very much devoted husband. The honeymoon was in The Maldives in a fantastic water bungalow, although Tim was allergic to the sun and had to buy multiple ultra-violet shirts to protect himself while there. It did raise some chuckles, especially when on one of their first days, he slipped and fell down the steps into the sea and dropped his camera into the water. There were always multiple slide shows of their travels and adventures across the globe together and even at one point a treasured desk calendar to remember those happy memories made together. He loved time spent with Jane’s family and their nieces and nephews, and was always ready to jump in the car, travel to various places across the country and don a fancy-dress costume, or take part in fun activities for the kids, or so he said.
Tim, originally from Grimsby, was born on the 24th May 1978. He first studied Architecture, before following the path into his beloved Photography at Sunderland University, where he completed his Bachelors and MA. In 2004 he started his career with Cleveland College of Art & Design (more recently known as The Northern School of Art), firstly at Burlam Road, Middlesbrough working as a technician within the higher education sector, and then he moved over to Hartlepool when the campus relocated. His more recent role was as a tutor to Further Education students at Green Lane, who all adored him. As much as they pretended to hate his quirky dad jokes, they all loved them really. Tim was a very well thought of and valued member of all the teams he was part of, always ready to help wherever and whatever needed his attention. He also wouldn’t mind being described as a bit of a techie. He enjoyed understanding how things worked and always got stuck in to solve any issues, with his cheerful demeanour. He was always very generous with his time, eager to share his extensive knowledge in any way he could and with so many of us.
Tim was most recently a member of the Fine Art/Graphics/Photography Cluster, where we built special bonds over the last few years and had so many good times working together and celebrating special events, big birthdays, babies and weddings, whilst also being there to support us in harder times. There are far too many stories to mention – you’ll each have your own, whether talking you through how to change a film in a camera (when you were stuck in the middle of nowhere), to knowing how to put water in your car, or racing you to be first to the staff room to heat up lunch. You could rely on Tim to know facts about everything – he often made us laugh with some of these, including choir facts, bell ringing facts and architectural facts. He had a spreadsheet for everything and a special pen that couldn’t ever be shared or misplaced. He would share life hacks with the students like the best money saving top tips to prepare them for university. He was always one to be involved in mischievous pranks with his friends, colleagues and students – he had a wonderful sense of humour and a mischievous giggle. He was always ready with a fancy coffee from one of his many machines and a smile. There will be many times when we miss him, or want to hear his fun facts – we can take comfort in thinking ‘just what would Tim do’ and we’ll do alright.