At the end of last year, the founder of English UK member centre St Giles sadly passed away. Paul Lindsay was the former chair of ARELS (predecessor to English UK) and is warmly remembered by many in the association and the wider UK ELT industry.
His son, Mark Lindsay, managing director of St Giles, has written an obituary that we are honoured to share:
My father was a big personality - irrepressible. He was witty and charismatic. He always loved teaching and was still lecturing at 90. We worked together for about 15 years. In truth I suppose we had quite a combustible relationship but at work, we generally saw things the same way.
In 2015 with around 400 employees both in the UK and North America, we won a Queen's Award for enterprise, which I personally collected from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. He founded St Giles back in the mid-50s, from £200 loaned from my grandparents, which he always said 'wasn't much even then'. I remember asking him once about when starting up, did he feel scared but he said no, as he had nothing to lose.
He had a tough up-bringing. He told me he moved home about ten times as a child, (probably because my Grandad owed rent). Being a Jew in the pre-war East End was a struggle against antisemitism. He learned from it and his example encouraged me to speak up, debate (and haggle).
Professionally, he could be inspirational. He founded one of the first TEFL training departments in the UK. One of our teachers said recently that she still remembers how he observed one of her lessons and remarked afterwards 'that's just what I'm looking for!' He was chairman of ARELS in 1970.
But he could also be infuriating at times with plenty of chutzpah! Only earlier this year (aged 92) , my sisters and I were worried about him still driving. Of course, he wouldn't listen, so finally my sister Rachel secretly stole his car keys and drove his car to her own house. Whenever he saw her after that he demanded that the car was returned but she kept on making excuses. Finally a few weeks ago, lying in hospital complete with nasal feed in his mouth, he declared to us 'I've decided to sell the car' (there was an audible sigh in the room). Then he said, I think I'll trade it in for something smaller'
All through my life, I must say that there was never any shadow of doubt about his enormous and unbreakable love for my mother. He was surprising vulnerable underneath and needed her. When growing up he never did any housework but when my mother needed support in his latter years, he diligently cared for her.
He drove me crazy but I miss him!