TRIBUTES have been paid to an inspirational member of Bolton’s amateur dramatics community who has died aged 70.

Mike Pinder was musical director for Walmsley Church Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society from 2011-2015 during which time he worked on a number of shows.

“Mike was a larger than life man who was full of enthusiasm,” said the society’s chairperson, Nora Howcroft. “He was adored by everybody and nobody had a bad word for Mike.”

Mike, who lived in Bury, was well-known across the region for his work as an inspirational teacher. He began his teaching career in 1972 at Elton Primary School. He was soon promoted to deputy head at St Paul’s, Ramsbottom, then headteacher at Affetside and finally headteacher at Tottington Primary School in 1986 where he worked for 26 years.

While there he masterminded the school’s plays and shows which became full-on productions with costumes, make-up, lighting and live band accompaniment.

Under his leadership, the school had a successful choir, school band and even a staff choir.

“Mike brought many young people to join us and was keen to promote them,” said Nora. “He was an exceptional man and everybody loved him.

“He was a brilliant musical director who brought fantastic orchestras to work with us and one of the people he recruited is now our current musical director.”

Mike’s wife is planning a memorial service for her late husband and there are hopes that the society can be involved.

“We will all be there from the Operatic Society supporting Mike’s family,” added Nora. “We really want to contribute to remembering his wonderful life and I’m sure everyone will be there literally singing his praises.

“Wherever Mike was there was fun. He could be very flamboyant with his dress sense, but when we did the shows he was always immaculately dressed in his evening wear.

“Everyone is so sad about the news because he was such a lovely man and are thoughts are with Sue, his wife, and all the family.”

“Mike encouraged everyone to pursue their interests and talents,” added Deborah Taylor, head of school at Tottington Primary School. “Above all, he had a tremendous sense of fun.”