Tributes paid following sudden death of ‘energetic’ deputy principal

The former media lecturer rose through the ranks to become deputy principal in a college career spanning over 20 years

The former media lecturer rose through the ranks to become deputy principal in a college career spanning over 20 years

Tributes have been paid to a young deputy principal whose “best was yet to come” following his sudden death at work on Friday morning. 

Tom Hamilton-Dick, 46, dedicated his career to further education and most recently worked as deputy principal at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) and trustee at Skills and Education Group.

Friends and colleagues said Hamilton-Dick was widely respected and will be remembered for his energy, charisma and commitment to students. 

A rising star in the college sector, his FE career began as a film and television lecturer at Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education in 2002. 

In just a few years he became head of the media department at South Essex College and, in 2012, began a near eight-year stint in Nottingham where he was part of the senior team that merged two of the city’s colleges to create one of the largest colleges in the country, Nottingham College

He left Nottingham as executive director for curriculum in March 2020 to become deputy principal at NWSLC and was widely tipped as a future principal in the sector. 

NWSLC principal and chief executive Marion Plant, said: “We are devastated at the loss. Tom was a wonderful colleague who was highly respected by staff, students and the wider education community.

“We have received hundreds of messages of condolence reflecting Tom’s impact across the sector,” she added.

Plant said the mood at the college is “sombre” and “everyone is pulling together to support each other.”

“Our main concern is for Tom’s family, and we are doing as much as we can to support them,” she added.

The college has opened books of condolence at each of its seven campuses and online.

Alongside his role at NWSLC, Hamilton-Dick was a trustee of Skills and Education Group. 

Paul Eeles, chief executive of Skills and Education Group, said: “Tom was caring, full of charisma, energetic and kind-hearted and deeply passionate about the FE sector. He was a talented leader, and his commitment to students saw him rise through the ranks in a career that has now been cruelly cut short. The best was yet to come. 

“Our deepest condolences are with Tom’s family and friends, and the college communities in North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire, and Nottingham.”

Janet Smith, principal and chief executive of Nottingham College, said the FE sector has “lost a true star.”

“The news of Tom’s death has shocked and saddened us all at Nottingham College. His charisma, influence and experience shone through in everything he did for us, and his passion for FE knew no bounds.

“Our heartfelt condolences are offered to his family and loved ones who are forced to comprehend the incomprehensible. Tom made many friends in the sector throughout his career, and we will all feel his loss for some time.”

Besides his passion for further education, Hamilton-Dick was an enthusiastic collector of luxury watches. His authority on the subject saw him interviewed by the Financial Times and writing for a collectors’ website.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

NWSLC is inviting messages of condolence that they will share with Tom’s family. Please send messages, stories and photos to

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  1. Louis Meller

    I’m absolutely gutted. This absolute gent was totally rememberable. I first met him when I went to the Media department at Grimsby when I was young. He worked with my mum for a long time, she’s so sad too! He always had a ‘live life to the fullest’ vibes, a real educator. RIP Tom.

  2. Mark Vinall

    Tom was my replacement appointment at SE Essex College and a staggeringly alive, energetic and enthusiastic appointment. You never get to know your replacement as you would like to as by definition you move on. However, through the wonderful Nigel Gell, we met up later when he was a VP and I knew he was on the way to the top. We shared a love of fine watches and he certainly knew quality when he saw it or wore it. I feel so sad for his wife and family.