Long-serving PGA North press officer David Birtill passes away

Long-serving PGA North press officer David Birtill passes away


David Birtill, the highly-respected journalist who served the PGA North region as its press officer for more than 30 years, has passed away at the age of 79 following a lengthy illness.

His role with The PGA was one facet of a career that began with him working on his local paper, the Chorley Guardian, and followed by spells with the Lancashire Telegraph and the Wigan Evening Post and Chronicle.

David then moved on to work for several national titles, including the Daily Telegraph, when their northern editions were produced in Manchester. However, he remained in Lancashire when production moved to London in the late 1980s and wrote for trade magazines.

He joined the Manchester Evening News as a sub-editor in 1999, by which time he had served PGA North for the best part of 15 years after being hired by Norman Fletcher, the region’s secretary.

“The regions wanted to get more media coverage,” recalled Fletcher, “so I approached David. He was a member at Chorley Golf Club where I played and wrote on the game as well as other sports.

“At that time he could get articles in the Telegraph and, in addition to reporting on our tournaments, he wrote extensive pieces for the PGA Professional magazine.”

David, who joined the Association of Golf Writers in 1995, retired in 2006 but continued to write about golf and run a website on the game until ill-health began to take its toll a year-and-a-half ago.

His book to mark the centenary of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs in 2010, Lancashire Links, was highly praised and seen as the standard other county associations should aspire to.

Similarly, his work for The PGA was well-regarded and his bulging contacts book that featured the names of many of the country’s let alone region’s most accomplished golfers was matched by a fund of stories.

“He kept us entertained at events over the years,” said Jonathan Paine, the current PGA North manager. “He did a top job for us and he’ll be sadly missed in the north and probably many other places.

“I’ll certainly miss him. He was a big supporter of Chorley Football Club – we spent days together there and it’s sad he did not get to attend the victory over Derby County last weekend.”

David, who was pre-deceased by his beloved second wife Val in 2016, is survived by two sons and a stepson. The PGA expresses heartfelt condolences to them, David’s other family members and many friends on their loss.



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