John Gilburn, stadium director

John Gilburn, who has died suddenly at 65, was the managing director of Owlerton Stadium, the greyhound racing circuit near Hillsborough in Sheffield.

John Gilburn

An accountant by profession, he had joined Owlerton 11 years ago and was the driving force behind plans for a £5m banqueting and conference suite there.

Mr Gilburn had previously been manager of the Belle Vue greyhound stadium in Manchester, and was elected chairman of the Racecourse Promoters’ Association at the start of this year.

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He had also worked in the leisure industry, and spent time with the Riley snooker hall business, Granada Leisure and the Gala group.

Before taking on his role in Sheffield, he was marketing manager for the Greyhound Racing Association.

His proposals for the banqueting and conference suite involved the building of a new facility between the greyhound track and Napoleon’s Casino at the Penistone Road site. It would accommodate 500 guests and could open as soon as next Easter.

He is survived by his wife, Rochelle, and their children.