Vale Bill

Sue and I are in England at the moment.
Our visit has coincided with the sad news of the sudden death of our friend, Bill McLoughlin.
Bill, Sue and I were colleagues at St Mary’s College (Sue from 1975, and me from 1978, up to our departure in 1986). It was with great sadness and joy that we attended Bill’s funeral in St Mary’s Chapel on 17 January.
We met Bill’s family and lots of colleagues and students at the service. Sue and I sat with Dave Sugden, Dudley Cooper, Bob Pearton and Dick Fisher.
Father Perry Gildea led Bill’s service and did so in a wonderfully human way. He, like of all of us, was profoundly touched by Bill.
I was a young member of staff in 1978 but was soon inducted into Bill’s family. I watched with wonder at the exploits of Bill’s children, Sean, Claire, Liam, Siobhan and Kerry under his continuous partial attention in and around the College gym and playing fields.
I was not too young to understand the love that bound them all together. I saw it as a model that I hoped I might emulate one day as a teacher, father and grandfather. I had an eight year induction into these possibilities.
There is a tribute to Bill on the St Mary’s website.
The day left me thinking about expert pedagogues and in Father Gildea’s words the life of “a remarkable human being”. More than anything I thought about the love that binds families and friends.
I went away contemplating some of Bill’s insights too, including:

Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Everything is difficult until it becomes easy.

Vale William Robert McLaughlin.

Photo Credits

Bill and Sean (London Gymnastics)
Captain Bill (British Gymnastics)
Bill (St Mary’s University College)


  1. Rip Bill I still remember training with you and Maria and staying at your home when we trained down London and we did our gymnastics around Siobhan and little Kerry who lay on the crash mats with no nappy on most of the time lol, Siobhan would always have a little bag of sweets to keep her happy. Mr and & Mrs Gough were the best coaches in the North West and we all loved it when you came down to Tameside to trains us.


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