Gerry Montgomery, sports executive

Gerry Montgomery, who has died at 76, oversaw the World Student Games in Sheffield in 1991, and went on to help lead the Commonwealth Games when they came to Manchester.

Gerry Montgomery

In the mid 1980s, Mr Montgomery was one of a team of council officials and politicians who made the case for regenerating Sheffield through sport. Their work paved the way for the creation of the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and the Don Valley Stadium, whose site is now being redeveloped as the Olympic Legacy Park.

Born in Rochdale, he developed an early interest in the leisure industry. Working from the ground up, he developed a specialism in pool technology and spent time running facilities in Nottingham, Leicester and Coventry.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But it was while serving as senior assistant director in Sheffield, between 1979 and 1989, that he made his mark. At 35, he became the youngest president of the industry body, the Institute of Sports and Recreation Management, teaching on many of its courses.

He embarked with others on the project to bring the student games to Sheffield at a time before lottery funding. Although the event ran up an overall debt of £658m, the city did build the first 50-metre pool for half a century, and the first modern arena outside London.

Mr Mongtomery set up his own business in 1989, and his work involved the creation of the country’s first sports development team. It helped to encourage participation and spurred the growth of many sporting clubs, including the Sheffield Eagles rugby league side and Sheffield Sharks basketball team.

He also staged the country’s first European Swimming and Diving Championships for 50 years, with Ponds Forge as the hub. The event was considered a success, and he turned his attention to organising other major events.

He was eventually appointed director of sport for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

In his retirement, he was made a life vice-president of the Sharks

His partner, Radmila, died shortly before him, and he is survived by his children, Nick, David, Brian and Sarah, and by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.