My father, Brian Harrison, who has died aged 84, was an educationist who advised governments around the world and wrote several popular text books about teaching English as a foreign language.

His main work took place at Leicester University’s School of Education, where he was a lecturer from 1969 until his early retirement in 1989. At Leicester he started a successful programme training teachers of English as a foreign language, and he also wrote several books, mainly about teaching English but also introducing British culture to students from abroad.

After retiring from Leicester he continued in education, advising countries such as Bhutan and Lesotho on their education programmes.

He was born in the village of Threlkeld, Cumbria, to John Harrison, a quarryman, and Ethel (nee Davies). The local vicar recognised Brian’s intellect and with his encouragement he was able to win a place at Keswick grammar school, later gaining a scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he studied French literature.

After graduating, Brian moved to London to take up a job in the sales department at Schweppes, but finding the work unrewarding he started teacher training at the Institute of Education (now part of University College London). Around this time he also joined the Labour party and his political activism drew him into advising local tenants about their legal rights, including some cases involving the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman.

Upon completing his teacher training, Brian worked for the British Council in Morocco and India, and when those assignments ended, he returned to the UK to begin his long association with Leicester University.

After retirement he fulfilled his dream of living overseas by moving to Patagonia, South America. There, in his late 60s and early 70s, he continued to teach while travelling widely with family and friends and researching a book on Darwin’s travels in the region. While in Argentina he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which eventually led to his return to the UK.

His first two marriages, to Bridget Yendell and Angela Benham, ended in divorce. He is survived by his third wife, Diana Ponce, by two children, Ruth and me, from his first marriage, three children, David, Max and Susannah, from his second, and four grandchildren, Raina, Tai, Lily and Robyn.

Another son from his first marriage, Robert, died earlier this year.


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