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Sport Media's Gary Gilliland is remembered

13 July 2017

Michael McGuinness

It is with lasting shock and great sadness to share that Gary Gilliland, a selfless and steadfastly principled journalist and FoC, has died suddenly, aged 40.

Gary, originally from south Belfast's Ormeau Road area, had been working as a sub-editor in Liverpool since 2010.

After collapsing at work in early April, and following various inconclusive tests, Gary was recuperating back home with family until returning to Liverpool to attend an Iron Maiden concert.

Having enjoyed a great night, friends were unable to get in touch with him later that weekend and he was found dead in his flat on Monday, May 22.

His June 6 funeral, at St Jude's Church in Belfast, saw an incredible turn-out of around 300 people, many who had come from afar to pay their respects to such a well liked and respected man.

A keen golfer and guitarist, Gary also enjoyed singing, songwriting and had dabbled in stand-up comedy gigs. He was also selected for an internship at the White House in his college days.

Gary had been based in Liverpool for the last seven years, working on a variety of sports publications at Trinity Mirror Sport Media. At one time or another, he was a sub-editor and production journalist on the magazines and matchday programmes of Chelsea, Stoke City and his beloved Manchester United football clubs, and was also involved in a number of book and eBook projects.He had previously worked for The Mirror, The People and The News Letter in Northern Ireland, where he had also graduated from Queen's University.

His legacy at Sport Media though will be the results of his unwavering steel and determination that were instrumental during a three-year-long battle to secure chapel recognition. Friends and colleagues there will be forever grateful for his efforts in giving staff a voice in an ever-increasingly-demanding environment.

Friends at Sport Media raised almost £400 for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust – who had arranged for Gary to be flown home for his funeral – at the inaugural Gary Gilliland Memorial Quiz night, where rounds and questions were themed on Gary's background and many interests.

The Sport Media chapel would like to pass on our thanks to Chris Morley, Jane Kennedy and fellow NUJ members for their support at such a difficult time.

His family have asked for any donations to be made to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.