OBITUARY: Pioneer of skiing in Sheffield passes away

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A lover of the great outdoors and adventure, a Sheffield pioneer of skiing has sadly psased away.

David Laird worked as a local education officer for some 20 years, between around 1969 to 1989, and died at his home in Carnoustie, Scotland, in December.

Molly Gill, Sharks Ski Club co-ordinator, who worked alongside David, said: “David was one of the first BASI qualified instructors in the sixties and came to Sheffield as our education officer in the late 60s. One of his aims was to introduce skiing to young people here in Sheffield. He encouraged all teachers and youth workers to become qualified ski instructors to enable them to take young people to Scotland to experience skiing and the outdoors adventure.

“Later, from the 80s onward, Sheffield LEA under the guidance of David, graduated from Scotland to the Italian Alps. Over a three-week period, all Sheffield schools, youth centres, teachers and (then) young people would commandeer the resort of Bosco San Gorgio. Skiing grew in Sheffield through David’s work with the LEA and he inspired people to head to the mountain.

“Anyone who has ever put on a pair of skis and has any connection with Sheffield pretty much has David Laird to thank for that opportunity. Some were inspired to go on and teach skiing and work their way through both the BASI and the English Ski Council (now Snowsport England) systems. Some of us were fortunate to have a career within skiing and achieve many great things and if we inspired anyone to a ten per cent degree of which he inspired us, then I think we did a good job.”

Molly added: “David inspired, encouraged, and taught people to ski.

“Thank you, David Laird, for all this, we here in Sheffield will always remember you with great fondness and gratitude.”