The passing of a distinguished member of our training community
It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Lou Walsh.
Her death was the result of a sudden brain haemorrhage.
She was a big cuddly bear of a character in the driver training community, and not just because she created the ‘Big Learner Relay’ for Children in Need. She was a big, bold personality, but soft and genuine at heart.
A grafter and a carer
Lou was enthusiastic, driven, hard working, thoughtful, direct, intelligent, funny, determined and immensely loveable. Always going that bit further for anyone, and dedicated to trying help make the world a better place for everyone.
A great driver trainer, whether that be 17 year-olds getting behind the wheel for the first time, or the 57 year-old looking to achieve their ADI badge. Knowledgeable, skilful and dedicated as a coach and mentor, she always leading from the front. Keen to discuss new ideas and concepts in training and coaching, through to regulation and policy changes brought in to the industry, alway keen to help the whole industry continuously develop. She questioned and mined for for the appropriate direction to steer people in, to achieve the best and fairest results for all.
Our thoughts are very much with her husband and partner in crime Blaine Walsh, her children and wider family.
Blaine and Lou co-managed Go Green Driving Instructor Training, but were active members of their local community as well as that of the driver training world. Lou was always keen to be connected and helping, with a passion for people and seeing them reach their real potential.
She was a frequent contributor to Intelligent Instructor, whether providing articles, comments, opinions, or giving training tuition through her online masterclasses.
Louise’s partner Blaine announced her untimely death with the following words:
It’s with great sadness that I have to tell you that Lou Walsh – mother, wife, and friend – passed away this morning after a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday evening. I hope you understand that there will be silence from me for a few days.
Bringing us together
However, Louise’s most lasting legacy has to be the Big Learner Relay (BLR). Since 2014, she was organising ADIs around the country to get together in the name of charity and Children In Need. Her idea was to create a relay of ADIs and PDIs, many with pupils on lessons getting involved too. It took off immediately and the baton has continued to pass from car to car, trainer to trainer, year on year, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity.
Her success prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to write to Lou saying:
“By founding ‘The Big Learner Relay’ as part of ‘Children in Need’, you have not only raised £250,000 in vital support for disadvantaged children, but also created a vibrant community of volunteers. You should feel an extraordinary sense of achievement in coordinating a relay that covers over 3,000 miles in 15 days and for bringing together people from all corners of the UK for an entertaining annual fundraising event.”
A driving spirit
President of the ADINJC, Lynne Barrie, posted this tribute:
“I am deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the passing of Louise Walsh. Whenever I saw her in person or in photos she was always smiling and bringing joy to people. She was an excellent trainer and we shared many conversations at conferences and places we met. She always wanted to help people and her dedication and hard work with the Big Learner Relay will be remembered forever. She managed to get PDIs and ADIs working together for a great cause. My thoughts now are with her husband Blaine and her children and family. She will be sadly missed. Rest in peace Louise, you were an inspirational lady and we will never forget you.”
The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) put out the following statement:
“For all those who had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her (and working with her) she was an inspirational trainer, passionate and dedicated to both supporting and improving the training of drivers and driver trainers, as well as improving road safety overall.
She will be remembered for all of the above, but also for her amazing efforts in creating and running the Big Learner Relay for Children In Need, literally mobilising a whole industry to raise tens of thousands of pounds for good causes.
We send our deepest condolences to Blaine and her family at this difficult time. She will be remembered as a leading light in the driver training industry.”
Louise Walsh’s story is a testament to the power of community, charity, and the indelible mark one person can leave on the lives of others. Her legacy continues to resonate, a beacon of inspiration for all who knew her or were touched by her work.
She will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered.