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Tributes paid to charismatic Nigel

Reporter: Karen Doherty
Date online: 23 January 2014

TRIBUTES have been paid to acclaimed local theatre director, rugby commentator and former teacher Nigel Marland, who has died aged 65.

Mr Marland, who had heart problems, was one of the founders of the modern Lyceum Players in Oldham and was a very popular amateur actor and pantomime dame before concentrating on directing.

At one time heavily involved in the work of Oldham Theatre Workshop, he helped to nurture the talents of many young actors who went on to stage and TV success, and was a favourite of thousands of pupils at Hathershaw School over the years.

TV star Suranne Jones, from Chadderton, said: “I knew Nigel as I worked at the Lyceum Theatre when I was very young. He was a kind, generous spirit who loved the Lyceum and all who worked there.”

A lifelong Oldham Rugby League fan, Nigel was the matchday announcer at the club, editor of the matchday programme, chairman of the Oldham Roughyeds’ Supporters’ Association and was instrumental in forming the Squad Strengthener scheme to help fund players.

In the early days of hospital radio, he was part of the team that commentated from the old Watersheddings ground. Chris Hamilton, chairman of Oldham RL, said: “He was an effervescent character, very committed and put an awful lot of time and effort into what he did.

“Nigel was a close friend, somebody I could always rely on, and he had a devilish sense of humour which lightened any situation. He will be sadly missed.”

Mr Marland, who lived in Stoneleigh Street, Derker, first joined the Lyceum Theatre at 14 — telling his parents it would be a quiet place to do homework — but he really wanted to play snooker there.

At 18, he went to Leicester University to study politics and became the youngest chairman of the Oldham Liberal Association.

After his degree, he completed teacher training and started working at St Luke’s Primary, Chadderton, before moving to the now-demolished Greenhill School and then Hathershaw, where he taught maths and history.

He became an assistant head teacher at Hathershaw before a heart problem forced him to retire 14 years ago, before the first of two heart operations.

He was part of the group which was instrumental in regenerating the Lyceum Players, along with fellow teacher Mike Russell, who said: “Nigel will leave a long and tangible legacy, firstly in the lives of all those pupils he taught at Hathershaw. They were entranced by his wit, personality and unique teaching style.

“Secondly, in the time and effort he put into Oldham rugby and thirdly in the contribution he made to amateur dramatics in Oldham as an actor and as a director.

“He joined a failing scheme in 1971 and led a team which built the Lyceum up to the reputation it enjoys today. There will be a lot of people shocked at his passing.”

Mr Marland died at Wythenshawe Hospital on Tuesday after being admitted several weeks ago with heart problems. He leaves his brother, John, and sister-in-law, Gail.

Lorna Philip, deputy head teacher at Hathershaw, said: “Nigel was a hugely charismatic character and teacher. If we all compile our Nigel Marland stories it would certainly be a best seller. We are grateful for the contribution he made to so many lives.”


RIP sir and thanks.....

I remember Mr Marland fondly from my time at Hathershaw. He knew how to get the best out of pupils and was always well respected and highly thought of. RIP Mr Marland, thoughts are with your family.

Mr Marland what can I say other than Thank you for all the fantastic times in productions that we did may you rest in peace in gods arms and look after Craig Dennis, another great actor at Hathershaw school.
You were a fantastic teacher and friend you wi be missed by a lot if students and colleagues xxxx

Nigel was a lovely, kind and welcoming man who was keen to share his experience, anecdotes and humour with all he came in top contact with.

RIP. excellent teacher...wish we had listened to more of what you had to say and offer during my school days at Hathershaw.

I'll add my tribute. I did my teacher training with Nigel at Leicester. A great personality putting a lot back into the social fabric of the borough.

Lovely man who put 100% into all he did. I went to school at Greenhill and Hathershaw during Mr. Marland's time there. Always had a huge smile on his face and to agree with Desi74, I should have listened more too !! Rest in Peace Mr. Marland and God Bless .... Craig

Nigel was my cousin and although I haven't seen or heard from him since the mid 60s ,as I moved to S Wales, I still remember him and John. Sad news but a full life. RIP Cous.


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