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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Inspiring teacher, keen adventurer dies, age 45

A FORMER Whitehaven Grammar School pupil who became a professor at the University of Montana, USA, has sadly died at the age of 45.

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passion for adventure: Scott Woods

Scott Woods, who grew up in St Bees, was a runner and mountaineer with a passion for adventure.

Described as a caring man of deep integrity and quiet mighty strength, Scott was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008. The following day he was married to his wife, Sarah, who he had met four years earlier.

A former St Bees Village School pupil, Scott became a forestry professor at the University of Montana. He put up a fierce battle against the cancer, taking part in many expeditions, including trekk-ing in Morocco and Peru as well as two triathlons.

It was always a dream of Scott’s to climb Mount Rainier (14,411ft), in Washington, which he achieved in 2010 after undergoing two years of intensive chemotherapy.

During the expedition he raised money and awareness for the Fit to Fight programme which helps those with cancer regain some physical fitness.

Scott, described as an inspirational and dedicated teacher, worked up until two weeks before he died at home on April 7.

His funeral was held in Montana and it is hoped that a memorial will also be held in St Bees Priory for Scott’s family and many friends in England.

His ashes will be brought over by his wife Sarah and scattered in his beloved Lake District.

Scott never lost his love for Glasgow, where he was born, before spending most of his childhood in St Bees where his love of outdoor pursuits began and he joined the handicap racing association, taking part in races around the country.

He gained a scholarship for the British School of Mines at the Imperial College London before working within the nuclear industry which involved him in the study for a deep waste repository.

From here he was offered the opportunity to work in Atlanta. Scott gained a PhD at Colorado State University before moving to Missoula, Montana to teach hydrology, soil science and ecology.

His father Bill, who still lives in St Bees, and late mother Irene, visited him in America on several occasions where they met their grandson Rylan, now 13.

Scott also had a sister, Mandy, who he was very close to. The family were devastated to lose Mandy to cancer in 2009, aged 41.

Bill said: “Scott fought his illness with dignity, courage and consideration for others throughout. He was a truly wonderful son of whom I have been enormously proud. His passing – like that of his beloved sister Mandy – leaves a void which cannot be filled.

“However his legacy will live on, in his son Rylan, in the hearts of his family and friends who loved him and in the countless students who were enthused by his teaching.”

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