JOURNALIST David Birtill, for over 30 years the PGA North Region press officer, has died in hospital after a lengthy illness at the age of 79.
Dave started his newspaper career at the Chorley Guardian after leaving Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn, in the late 50s. He was a reporter and sub-editor at the Lancashire Telegraph in the mid-60s before moving to the Evening Post and Chronicle at Wigan.
He later worked in Manchester for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Sunday People and Sunday Express when the city was the hub for Northern editions of the national press.
By the end of the 80s, production had moved to London but he stayed put and took up golf writing and working for trade magazines before joining the Manchester Evening News sports desk as a sub in 1999.
He retired in 2006 but continued to write extensively from his home in Withnell Fold, Chorley. Among the many magazines to which he has contributed are PGA Professional and English Club Golfer. He knew many of the country's top golfers of the past 30 years.
In 2010 he published a glossy hard-back book to mark the centenary of amateur golf in Lancashire. It was hailed by senior officials in the golfing world as the standard which other county associations in the UK should strive to match.
Harold Heys, of Darwen, a friend for 60 years, recalled: "I was privileged to have edited the book and Dave was thrilled with all the attention and the plaudits it received."
He had two children from his first marriage and a stepson from his second marriage to Val whom he used to call "the most tolerant woman in the world." She died a few years ago.
David was born in Leyland into a newspaper family. His father George Birtill wrote several books, mainly on local history, and he was for many years managing editor of the Chorley Guardian series.
His son Mat said: "Dad was seriously ill for months but he put up a brave fight to the end. A lot of people will miss him in the golfing world. We certainly will."