Hugh Montgomery McIlvanney OBE

2nd February 1934 - 24th January 2019

On Thursday 16th May 2019 at 11:30am a service of thanksgiving for the life of Hugh McIlvanney OBE was held at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.


The Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce delivered the opening:

As the Journalists’ Church it is often our privilege to host thanksgiving services for many of the best-known figures in the profession. But in celebrating the life of Hugh McIlvanney today, we are honouring a man to whom all the superlatives really do apply. Because his contribution to sports journalism truly was both remarkable and unparalleled. And alongside that, he was also a tremendous human being – a huge family man, and a man of great generosity, kindness, and wit.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, We are here to give thanks for the life and work of Hugh McIlvanney, whom we love but see no longer, to honour his memory, and to celebrate his life. Grant him your peace; let light perpetual shine upon him, and in your loving wisdom work in him the good purpose of your perfect will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hugh MacDonald

Donald Trelford


Brough Scott read Psalm 121

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Sir Tom Courtenay read extracts from Johnny Owen’s Last Flight taken from The Observer, 21 September 1980

Gary Lineker read extracts from Farewell to the Ultimate Football Man taken from The Sunday Times, 23 January 1994


The choir & organist of St Bride’s performed the following anthems and songs:

Ave Maria – Schubert

She moved through the Fair – Irish traditional, arr. Mooney

Celeste Aida from Aida – Verdi

Me and Bobby McGee – Kristofferson, arr. Morley

With a little help from my friends – Lennon/McCartney, arr. Gritton


How great Thou art

He who would valiant be


Before the Service – Fidelis – Whitlock

Voluntary – Grand March from Aida – Verdi

congregation sitting for service


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