Obituary: Gordon Day MBE, Engineer and rowing administrator

Gordon John Day MBE. Born: 3 January, 1932 in Leicester. Died: 25 April 2016 in Glasgow, aged 84.

Gordon Day MBE with his wife Eileen. Picture: contributed
Gordon Day MBE with his wife Eileen. Picture: contributed

Gordon John Day MBE, who has died peacefully at 84, was a major figure in the sport of rowing in Scotland, first as an international performer – he represented Scotland at the 1958 Empire Games – then as a national umpire, international team manager and significant administrator.

In later years, he was a committee member of the Allan Glen’s Old Boys Club, while in his professional life, he was also a talented and innovative engineer, eventually working with many whisky distilleries to develop the pneumatic cask-filling nozzle that reduced the waste of whisky when filling barrels. Above all, he was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather.

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Gordon Day joined Clyde Amateur Rowing Club at Glasgow Green when he was 14 and went on to be selected for the RAF rowing squad during his national service, racing at Henley Royal Regatta and other international events across Europe. He eventually became president of Clyde during a period when its Clyde Rowing Weekend was voted the best regatta in Britain. He also became Scottish rowing’s international team manager and was voted into the position of vice-president of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association. In this role he had responsibility for delivering the international requirements of the rowing course at Strathclyde Park so that it could successfully host the rowing events of the 1986 Commonwealth Games, during which event he hosted the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal. He was also the Scottish representative on the Olympic selection committee that picked a certain Steve Redgrave for the first time in 1984.

In later sporting life, he teamed up with partner Ian Stanners to enjoy outstanding success at successive World Masters Regatta, racing as Clyde Masters and picking up world gold medals on several continents, until Ian Stanners’ death in 2003. After this, the veteran squad at neighbouring Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club took him under their wing and he went on to compete successfully with them, winning his last Scottish title at the age of 80. He also became a member of Cawder House Curling Club and was president and secretary of the Kemmure Probus Club in Bishopbriggs, where he lived for most of his adult life.

In 2013, Gordon was presented with his MBE in 2013 for voluntary services to rowing and his charitable services through the Allan Glen’s Old Boys Club.

He was happily married to Eileen for 59 years and was a loved father to Suzanne, Jacqueline and Simon, and their spouses Roddy, Gill and Claire; as well as a doting grandfather to Stephen, Jamie, Ellen and Jenna.