Tributes after death of learning mentor who loved working at Wigan college

Tributes have been paid to a “very special” learning mentor and grandfather, who has died after a battle with cancer.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 8:52 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 8:54 am
Paul Shinner

Staff and students at St John Rigby College in Orrell are in mourning following the death of Paul Shinner, who was described as a “popular” member of the learning support team and a “wonderful friend and colleague”.

He had been off work receiving treatment for cancer, but was admitted to a hospice just after New Year and died on January 13 surrounded by his family.

He leaves his partner Carol and four sons.

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Mr Shinner was said to have a “wonderful” sense of humour, was always willing to go the extra mile and was a “passionate and knowledgeable” football fan who supported the college’s teams.

Principal Peter McGhee said: “Paul was a very special individual who embraced fully the ethos of St John Rigby College from his very first day.

“Our community was richer for having Paul as part of it and we were blessed by the care and compassion that he had for his colleagues and, in particular, for his students.

“Paul provided individual support, in class and outside of class, for students with learning difficulties and had a key role in their progress and development.

“We have received many touching tributes from those young people whose lives he helped to transform.

“Like his former students, the staff remember Paul’s positivity, his humour and the time that he gave so generously to everyone with whom he came into contact.”

Mr Shinner’s sons Saul, Joe, Sam and Jake said he “loved” working at the college, had an “incredible” relationship with staff and students and always came from work with a story to tell.

They said: “We took him into work once after he was diagnosed with cancer to see some of the staff and students.

“We were pleasantly surprised at how much attention he got. There was a queue of people waiting to come in to speak to him.

“This is a credit to the college, for the care they show in difficult times and also shows what a special place it is. The support from the college for my dad and all our family has been unbelievable and it’s something both my dad and all of us will never forget.

“To all staff at the college that made our dad smile, thank you.”

They gave a special mention to chaplain Martin Malone for his support since Mr Shinner’s diagnosis.