Our former classmates

Jeremy Wilde

Jeremy sadly passed away on 13th September 2017 after a long battle with cancer.

He attended St Ambrose College between 1973 and 1978,
having previously attended the Prep School.

Daniel (Danny) McGowan

Danny attended St. Ambrose between the years 1968 and 1975.

Danny was a straight ‘A’ student, gaining A grade A levels in French , History and Geography and went on to study French, then History at the University of Leeds.

From the St Ambrose years and those that followed, Danny will be remembered as curious and demonstrative, charming and challenging, well thought of by his peers, his friends and staff….And for his bright coloured shirts, of course.

He continued to read widely throughout his life – he loved the great Irish writers Joyce, Yeats, and Wilde. He read Samuel Beckett in the French original (Beckett wrote his major works in French).

Amongst the numerous jobs he had during his lifetime were teacher (he taught computing to young adults in the 1980’s) and travel agent (he ran a travel agency with his late sister Margaret for many years.

Proud of his roots, he immersed himself in the Celtic traditions of music, literature, history and culture.

He loved get-togethers with friends, but above all he loved his family – his deceased father Tony, his mother Maureen, his brother Kevin (deceased), his sister Margaret (also gone) and his sister Breda, and all his extended family.

A great wit himself these are amongst his favourite quotes;

‘ You’re on earth – there’s no cure for that ‘ (Beckett)

‘Some people are loved wherever they go – others are loved whenever they go’ (Wilde)

‘Where there’s a will there’s a relative’ (D. McGowan)

He will be sadly missed by many, may he rest in peace.


Matthew Charnock
29 December 1980 – 16 March 2016
It is with great sadness I write to inform you of the passing of former St Ambrose student Matthew Charnock who attended the college from 1992 – 1999.

Matthew’s funeral will be on Friday 29th April at All Saints in Ashton on Mersey at 10.30am.

May he rest in peace.

Mike Smythe
We have the sad news to pass on that Mike Smythe, an Ambrosian approximately from late 1950s to early 1960s, has lost his battle with prostate cancer. Mike played rugby at Sale FC and also played centre to a high standard for Broughton Park, Lancashire as well as spending time playing in France.

His funeral is being at St Joseph’s Hope Rd Sale at 12.30pm on Tuesday 22 September 2015.

Terence Gilligan

20 November 1956 – 11 February 2013

The Association is saddened to inform its members that Terry Gilligan died on 9th February.

Terry attended the Old Boys dinner in November and was in his usual exuberant form. He entertained a number of us at an “After Party” at the Bulls Head Hotel with absolutely top renditions – a great voice and guitarist. So good he was invited to play at the next dinner. Sadly he was informed in December of a very aggressive leukaemia diagnosis from which he was not to recover. He was 56 years old.

Old Boy Tim Burgess attended the funeral in Cambridge and passed a Mass card from the Association.
He writes –

“The Church was crowded and there were a lot of tears. Terry had the opportunity to be involved in how his funeral was to work – so black ties were out, colourful ties were in, only the smallest flowers allowed and donations welcomed to his cancer charity.

“A recording was played of him singing a song, accompanied by a friend – it was good enough to be a hit! There was one hymn and one Elvis song – ‘I believe’ which everyone was asked to join in with at the end.

“I did not find out, but my sisters (Nic, Tricia, and Michele who were also there), all thought that the recording of ‘I believe’ was not Elvis but Terry. It was excellent.

“Terry’s former wife, Annie, and his two beautiful daughters (Rosie and Tessa), clearly get on very well with Terry’s recent partner Liz who they thanked deeply for looking after him over the last few months.

“All in all it was a very sad, moving, and emotional ceremony. Good old Terry!”

Terence was a man of many talents. He was naturally bright and cruised through his school academics but he was also an excellent sportsman: as a rugby winger he was big and fast and hard to stop and he was a considerable athlete, representing his school and winning honours at every distance from 100 metres to 800 metres but was especially talented in the 100 metres hurdles. none of these activities taxed him too much and he never developed his rugby or athletics after school.

He gained a place at Liverpool University to read psychology. He became a speech therapist, first in the NHS and then in private practice. He went to work in Cambridge, married Annie and they had two girls, Rosie and Tessa, and settled down in this part of the world – another northerner happily transplanted to the south.

Tribute Video

Henry Strzelecki MBE

4 October 1925 – 26 December 2012

Friend of SAOBA – Henry Strzelecki – founder of UK marine clothing manufacturer Henri-Lloyd, passed away on Boxing Day at the age of 87. Henry is pre-deceased by his wife Sheila (d 1999), is survived by two St Ambrose Old Boys, Paul and Martin, (the joint chief executives of Henri-Lloyd Limited) and a daughter, Diane, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

It is with great pleasure that each year Henri-Lloyd donates a jacket for the Old Boys’ Dinner.

Our thoughts are with Henry’s family.

A full obituary can be found online

Antony McDonagh

30 September 1938 – 22 October 2012

It is estimated that between 14 and 20 million new born babies throughout the world suffering from jaundice were saved from brain damage or death as a result of the remarkable pioneering discoveries of Tony McDonagh.

Tony, who had lived in San Francisco since 1971 was Emeritus Adjunct Professor of medicine at the Medical Centre of the University of California, where, through his extensive research into cancer, phototherapy and jaundice in infants, he was considered to be the world authority in this complex field.

Just two days before his sad death, he was honoured to receive the National Landmark Award in recognition of significant contribution to Neonatal Medicine, the gift of the American Academy of Paediatrics.

Known in San Francisco for his enthusiasm for running marathons and joining numerous ‘fun runs’ in the city and other places in America, he was also an accomplished ‘boogie’ piano player and was a much liked friend and neighbour in the area of Crown Heights.

Paul Kearns

1962 – 2012

Paul’s service at Holy Angels, was presided over by his Jesuit priest friends from Stonyhurst College , Fr Michael Halloran and Fr John Twist along with Deacon Alan Morris. It was a totally unique and beautifully conducted 2-hour ceremony; attended by a massive crowd and concluded with 5 of his friends providing the most eloquent, moving, uplifting and hilarious eulogies I have had the pleasure to witness. Paul is survived by his lovely wife Debbie and his 3 children. May he Rest in Peace. The Kearns Family, including many of their relatives, invited everyone back to the Bull’s Head for a celebration of a remarkable man’s life and many were there until late in the evening recalling their favourite memories of Paul. Our prayers and our deepest sympathies on their loss are with them.



Greg Kirrane

Greg Kirrane, a former pupil at St Ambrose, died suddenly on 21st January 2011 at the very young age of 29.

Greg and his older brother Paul both studied at St Ambrose, as did their father Martin Kirrane before them.

Greg’s funeral will take place next Tuesday 8th February 2011 at 11.00am at All Saints RC Church, Carrington Lane, Ashton-on-Mersey,

(from Brendan Kirrane)

Damien Regan

Passed away 2010 aged 37 years from Deep Vein Thrombosis


Mark Dewhurst

Attended 1973-1978. Passed away in June 2010 aged 48 years, after a long battle with cancer.

Mark joined an apprenticeship scheme at Shell Carrington on leaving St Ambrose after O levels and remained with Shell throughout his working life.

Mark was married to Rachel and they have two sons, Sam who is 5 and Conor who is 10 .

Kit Kelly

Passed away in his sleep, only 51 years of age, November 2009.

Older brother to Patrick.

Funeral held at Holy Angels Church, Hale Barns, 18th November 2009.


Matthew Norton

1952 – 2009

Former pupil of St Ambrose, and Founder of the SKCV Charity, Vijayawada, South India. Matthew founded SKCV in 1984 and passed away on June 1st 2009, aged 56 years. The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper,2nd June 2009 Obituary – The Guardian, 10 August 2009

Memories of Matthew Manihara Norton

“There is a light that never goes out.” – Johnny Kelsey and family

“He had a dream and he made it come true, he showed us the way and we followed it through. He sacrificed his life and made our dreams come true.” – Kids at SKCV, Vijayawada

“Very rarely does one meet a true visionary whose impact is immediate on everyone they meet. Matthew was such a person”

Lonnie Donegan
29.4.1931 – 3.11.2002

The BBC News website reports:

Musician Lonnie Donegan MBE, known as the “king of skiffle”, has died aged 71.

The Glasgow-born singer was midway through a UK tour after recovering from a heart operation earlier this year and was due to play a concert in Stoke, Staffordshire, on Monday.One of the most successful recording artists of the pre-Beatles era, he had three UK number one hits and numerous top 10 entries in the 1950s and 60s.

The star was with his wife and son when he died in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday at about 0230 GMT. He had been complaining of back trouble shortly before he fell ill.

Dr Richard Reynolds

We were shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news in mid-February 2000, of the death of Dr Richard Reynolds, in a swimming accident in Australia.Richard left St Ambrose in 1988 to study Medicine at St Andrews. He had completed his training and exams for General Practice, but planned to spend a few months working in Australia before settling into practice in the UK. Both Richard and a colleague who were swimming together from a beach were drowned in the same incident.

A keen cricketer at school, and a supporter of Manchester City, Richard will also be remembered for giving his time to assist the disabled as part of the annual Lourdes Pilgrimage.At the school prize day on 20th March 2000, the Richard Reynolds prize for the best First year Cricketer was presented for the first time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

Requiescant in pace.

If you would like a fomer classmate to be remembered please contact us.