Michael Gilyeat: 1957 – 2016

It was with great sadness that members of Royal Birkdale GC learnt that Michael Gilyeat, their Managing Secretary and longstanding member of the GCMA, died on April 29 after a brief battle against cancer.

Mike was the club’s longest serving secretary and over the last 16 years had been involved in every aspect of club life. He served 16 Captains (all of whose job would have been infinitely harder without his guidance) and his fantastic memory kept the many council meetings informed and on the right track.

Mike’s passion for detail extended beyond his job and he could often be found showing visitor’s items of memorabilia that the club had managed to secure. Mike’s post retirement ambition was to be involved in the rich history of the club and to growing its memorabilia.

Supporting charities close to his heart saw Mike actively promoting fund raising for children’s charity Derian House and the On Course Foundation.

He will be missed.

Sid J Ludlow

An Officer and a Gentleman

Mike Gilyeat or to give him his full title Michael Colin Gilyeat, Major (Retired), was born into a military family in Hong Kong on July 31, 1957.  As the son of an Army Officer and one of five children, he moved regularly as a child growing up in Malaysia, Singapore, Iran and Yorkshire before attending Gordons Boys School in Surrey in 1969, Welbeck Army College in 1974 to do his A Levels and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1977.

He was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals in 1977 and had a number of posts in the UK, Germany and Belize.  Whilst in the Army he was a keen sportsman, playing for the rugby team, the swimming team and also became a canoe instructor.

During his time in the Army, he had three children: Michael, Naomi and Katie.  Katie sadly passed away aged seven months in 1986 and Michael was tragically killed whilst serving with the Royal Military Police in Afghanistan in 2007.

In 1994 he decided to leave the Army and his keen interest in golf led him to the post of Secretary of Sandiway GC in Cheshire where he stayed for five years.  He was then appointed Managing Secretary of Royal Birkdale GC, his dream job in 1999.  He was so proud to be part of this prestigious golf club and during his time he was responsible for overseeing one Open Championship, four Women’s British Opens and a Senior Open Championship amongst other competitions.  He felt so honoured to stand on the 18th green for the prize presentations for all these events.  He had been looking forward to the challenges of another Open Championship in 2017.

He also found time to get involved in supporting several charities: The Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Prince’s Trust, Derian House Children’s Hospice and more recently, his particular favourite, the On Course Foundation which offers injured servicemen the opportunity to get involved in the golf industry and donations in Mike’s memory were directed to this charity.

Jan and Mike were married in 2007 and Jan has received in excess of 200 cards and letters with a common theme and words used in relation to Mike: his professionalism, quiet demeanour, sense of humour, friendly, approachable and always had time for people.  Of course Mike would not be comfortable with this praise because after all he was a very humble man at heart.

Over 400 people, consisting of relatives, colleagues from the GCMA and friends attended his funeral service at St James’ Church, Birkdale on May 11, 2016.

A fitting epitaph for Mike – ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’.

This tribute has been compiled using extracts from the Eulogy given by Reverend Ian Mainey at the funeral service. 

Howard G Williams
Regional Manager | GCMA North West Region

By Mike Hyde

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