My father, Peter Hobson, who has died aged 79 of Covid-19, was a teacher who was passionate about the potential of further education to give people second chances.
Born in Liverpool, Peter was the son of Richard Hobson, an engineer, and his wife, Flo (nee Hodges), a seamstress and cleaner.
He attended Litherland high school, having failed the 11-plus, and aged 15 he began an electrical apprenticeship at Reads Ltd in Liverpool, after Flo spotted an advert at the factory where she worked.
In 1962 Peter married Laura Green, a shorthand typist whom he met through a church youth group, and they moved “over the water” to Chester, where he took a position at Brookhirst Igranic, which specialised in designing switchgear systems.
The plant closed, however, in 1968 and Peter was made redundant alongside 1,400 others. With a young family to support it was a formative experience.
He retrained as a further education lecturer at Bolton Institute of Technology and in the early 1970s went to work at Chester College of Further Education (which later became West Cheshire College), where he established a reputation as a first-rate classroom communicator and a designer of pioneering courses in electrical engineering.
He was passionate about providing opportunities to those who had been failed earlier in their lives – either by the education system, or by loss of employment, both of which had been his own experience.
Like thousands of others he fought for the further education sector’s soul as a loyal member of the NATFHE trade union (now the University and College Union) during the long contracts dispute and attendant strikes in the 1990s.
A man of deep Christian faith, he was committed over decades to church community life, active in youth work, local leadership and pastoral care. In later years he and Laura attended Chester Cathedral, where Peter became a trusted welcomer.
After retiring from college, he gave his time to many interests and became a board member with Chester Aid to the Homeless. For Amnesty International he would do an annual stint sitting in a prison cage that he had constructed in front of Chester town hall, patiently encouraging people to take action on behalf of others.
In recent years Peter was diagnosed with vascular dementia and he moved into a care home in 2018. Despite this, on general election day last year, he was determined to vote. Justin Madders won for Labour with a vote of 26,001. The family believe he was the “1” and it is a precious memory. Because of the pandemic, Peter’s funeral was restricted but neighbours, friends and former colleagues came on to the kerbsides to pay their respects.
He is survived by Laura, their children, Val and me, by three grandchildren and his sister, Joan.