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Appreciation For Gary Wilson By Richard Coope

Picture of 'Gary  Wilson' provided by Richard COOPE

Gary was my friend of 30 years, we met at Vosper Thornycroft Shipbuilders in Southampton.

I have shared a room with him in digs in Lowestoft back in the 80s, been with him in Germany throughout the 90s, shared holidays, went ski-ing, played golf, darts, cards, squash and even football with him. I have such lovely memories of our time together. He had a wicked sense of humour and along with the great competition we shared in our sporting events he brought fun and happiness into my life.

We both transferred to Brooke Marine Shipbuilders, in 1982 our first venture out into the real world, we were very young and we had a great time. Unfortunately, Gary left me there to go back home when the Rugby season started. There was not a lot standing between Gary and his Rugby back then.

It was in Germany where we really bonded, together for almost 10 years back in the 90s, We worked for MTU, a Diesel Engine manufacturer that made high performance engines for ships, it was his job to help with the integration of their engines into a marine propulsion system. Gary was the CAD of the department, which means by the way a Computer Aided Draughting specialist. This was to lead to his successes later at McClaren where I believe he was something of an expert in his field.

Gary and I learned to play golf, we were suddenly thrown in/or out when after playing at the local course a few times, the club secretary casually asked Gary to which club he was associated in England, when Gary replied none we were told we were not welcome anymore. That little Gaff cost us huge sums of money in future golf membership and lessons, Yes in Germany you need a licence to play golf.

As it was costing so much money, we played almost non-stop and developed a huge passion that we both shared. Endless golf magazines, I remember all those tips he used to give me as we strived to find the perfect golf swing. We made great friends with Chris Gillies an English golf pro, evenings watching golf on TV, a few beers, endless pizzas, all in exchange for free golf lessons. We all share great memories of those days. It was with Chris that Gary honed his skills as a Dart player. Chris was almost professional, and Gary set up a Darts board in his office so he could practice in readiness for the next crunch match with Chris. The two of them would play for hours and hours, while I fell asleep in my beer.

Gary loved his sports and during the winter when the golf course was closed we would Ski. Setting of at 5 in the morning, driving over to Austria or Switzerland for a days skiing. We even went on the company ski holiday, which was always a laugh, especially when we found out that Germans don't wear anything in the Sauna!

I introduced Gary to the Chase Golf Society back in 2000 he won the first tournament he played in, unfortunately he didn't receive the trophy as he was a guest player. He won two golf tournaments last year with the Chase Golf Soceity, he won the Champion of Champions competition and the Masters, which he was due to defend the day before his funeral at Alresford Golf Club. We had a beautiful sunny day, and we paid our respects with our thoughts in silence at the beginning of the day, and a few drinks in celebration of our memories of Gary in the evening. We decided, in tribute and memoriam of Gary the Champion of Champions competition will be renamed the Gary Wilson Trophy. We had a collection for the designated charity RNLI and raised £200 which is a sign of the high regard he was held in by his golf colleagues.

I was shocked and saddened by his untimely death, I would love to say more, but words cannot express my thoughts of him, and the loss we all feel. I live with the regret that I missed phoning him on his birthday this year, for the first time since years, and am saddened by the fact that I couldn't say goodbye and tell him how much is friendship meant to me, and how much I admired him for the way he had found contentment in his life.

Although he had a short life, what he experienced and achieved over the years was awe inspiring. He was a real pleasure to be with, a very loyal friend, a real genuine guy and devoted husband. Throughout the years, it didn't matter that we kept in touch regularly, every time we met or phoned it was always the same dependable, amiable guy always willing to help.

So now at Christmas, although I'm not a religious person, I just want to say that I do believe that if you are a good person on this earth wherever you go in the afterlife you will be rewarded for your acts. In those beliefs I know that Gary is well taken care of, he was one of life's true gentlemen. A gentle giant, sensitive and caring, you are always on my mind, I miss you buddy, gone but not forgotten, God Bless.

Added on: 24 December 2010


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