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Remembering Gary Whittle
3rd September 2019

Broadway Malyan is sad to announce the passing of Gary Whittle, who had been its managing director for the past nine years.

Gary spent more than three decades at Broadway Malyan where he was elected to the role of group managing director in 2010. He stood down from the role months before the end of his final term in 2018 due to ill health.

Group chairman Stuart Rough paid tribute to Gary who he had worked alongside for more than 30 years.

He said: “The untimely loss of our valued friend and close colleague has been felt acutely across the practice where to many, he was much more than just a colleague.

“During his time as a partner, director and managing director, Gary had a huge influence on the direction of the practice and he leaves an unrivalled legacy in terms of where Broadway Malyan sits today.

“However, more importantly Gary will be remembered by everyone who knew him as a fantastic human being. He was incredibly personable, knew everybody’s name at the practice and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his colleagues, whether they were a senior director or a newly appointed student.

“Everyone at Broadway Malyan will miss Gary hugely and we all send our condolences to his beloved wife Lorraine and his four children during this incredibly sad and difficult time.”

After joining Broadway Malyan Gary spent 15 years working at the practice’s London studio, where he became a partner and then a director of the incorporated practice, before focusing on developing the business throughout the UK.

He founded the Manchester studio in 1997 and a decade later he established a new studio in Birmingham, where he was based.

More recently he worked closely with Broadway Malyan’s recently elected new managing director Ian Apsley in taking Broadway Malyan into a new era as an Employee Owned Trust in 2016, a process that exemplified Gary’s vision and leadership skills according to Ian.

He said: “Every generation has seen Broadway Malyan continue to evolve to meet the challenges of a growing global practice and it was under Gary’s stewardship that the practice took the decision to move to an EOT model.

“It was a long and sometimes difficult process but his ability to unite people around an idea was what made him such an effective leader and Broadway Malyan is a far better practice because of it.

“From a personal perspective, Gary was a wonderful friend and colleague and I know he will be in all our thoughts as we strive to continue the fantastic work that he did at Broadway Malyan over so many years.”

Memories of a friend

Hugo Fitzgerald, Director, Birmingham

For me, Gary was all about the people. Whether you were a client, a senior architect or a year out student, he always made himself approachable and accessible. He treated everyone in the same way, with warmth and professionalism and was always very measured when dealing with anything and everything.

He was an amazing mentor to me and so many others, rarely taking the credit he was due and always encouraging and supporting people to help them further their own career.

For at least 10 years Gary said to me that we should do the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge together but every year something else would come up. I’m not sure if it was because he found out he was very ill but this year we finally managed to arrange it. In May, Gary, myself, Stuart Rough and former colleague Melvin Davis went off for a few days of middle aged adventure!

What an amazing few days it turned out to be and what a privilege it was to spend that time with Gary. We shared - and created - a lot of memories, had many laughs and the odd tear - all with very good friends. Amongst other things, Gary reflected on his career and was very proud of what the practice had become from its humble roots, starting as a small office in Weybridge in 1958 to an award-winning international practice with 500 colleagues.

Typically for Gary however he downplayed his role in its success but there is no doubt that without him, it wouldn’t be what it is today. Almost 25 miles later, we crawled to the finish line, so glad to have had the opportunity to share such an incredible few days together.

Those who knew Gary would know what an absolute perfectionist he was, from the way he presented himself to how he liked his desk. A favourite game of mine was to slightly move his pens from their precisely parallel position on his immaculate desk, only to be spotted instantly and be repositioned with a frown from Gary.

When I first visited him at home following his sick leave, he very excitedly took me straight to his shed which he had found the time to sort whilst off. It looked like the equivalent of an Aston Martin showroom - but for garden tools. Everything pristine, positioned perfectly straight and parallel to each other. It really was a sight to behold. I didn’t miss the opportunity to just nudge the lawnmower and the odd spade over to spoil the scene when I left which I’m not sure he would have found as hilarious as I did...

If Gary’s life’s work was Broadway Malyan, his life’s passion was his family. Five minutes with him outside of the office would expose his sense of pride and devotion to his wife and children, he never tired of talking about what they were up to and their various achievements and was always happiest when he could be at home with them “pottering” as he always used to say to me.

Gary is an irreplaceable, husband, father, friend and colleague who I know will be so deeply missed by everyone who knew him.

Stuart Rough, Group Chairman

I was starting at Manchester Polytechnic as Gary was completing his course - only one year separated us but I was a late starter. To my surprise, I walked in on my first day at Broadway Malyan during a Christmas holiday from Architectural school and there was Gary!

That was in 1985 and I worked with him several times through those early years when we both played for the cricket team and regularly played football with colleagues.

Gary, myself and colleague Peter Vaughan often spent fantastic holidays and days out together with our families; one memorable night was spent camping in Gary’s garden with Peter, myself and all the kids whilst our wives sensibly slept in the house.

Later I was extremely proud to have been invited to join the Board and served years on the Executive Committee at his invitation and enjoyed working very closely with Gary in his position as MD and I as Chair.

Always the diplomat, Gary was measured and never made a decision without fully understanding all aspects of any debate. He was a clever and savvy businessman, brilliant with clients and formed an incredibly important bond with our bank during some difficult years.

Our most recent qualitative time together was walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks. It is a three-day break I’ll never forget and I can’t stress enough how valuable that time proved to be.

Gary’s infectious laugh was always heard during those three days except when he was outpacing us on the uphill sections.

I’m so proud to have known and worked with such a great friend.

“Always the diplomat, Gary was measured and never made a decision without fully understanding all aspects of any debate.”

Peter Vaughan, Director, London

Here’s how I’ll remember the wonderfully inevitable, now never to be, reminiscing with Gary over a beer in ten years’ time.

A fellow northerner (who always disputed my lineage), Gary Whittle never needed the fuss of a middle name.

No-one was more proud of their Bolton heritage than Gary. Peter Kay, you’re a distant runner up.

A passionate Bolton Wanderers fan, a committed believer, with enough sense never to place a bet. Sam ‘the man’ Allardyce - the glory days.

Few get to toast a BWFC victory with West Ham champagne in the Bobby Moore stand. We did. Thanks John McGinlay - £20 on the first goal.

Five-a-side in our early Broadway Malyan days. Your talent, my making up the numbers. I scored once, you scored every week.

No-one deserved more fortune in love.

I spoke at your wedding about childhood sweethearts. Mischief of course, but it covered the bases. You spoke of love and commitment. The beautiful ‘Rox from the docks’.

Lorraine’s talent to manage your fashion sense. I marvel at the love she put into a continual work in progress. Except perhaps that rather too blue suit.

Our recent talk of cycling together (50/34 not 53/39) would have set the un-winnable challenge of how to style lycra.

I’ll forever remember your unerring promotion of colleagues and talent, only ever marked down for wearing a short sleeved shirt.

No-one loves Broadway Malyan more than you. Your understanding of a business born of its clients. Always seeking solutions never stirring a problem.

I have photos that record our holidays together; camping in your garden, Antibes, Brixham. The dead mackerel that came back to life in a Tesco’s bag. How fast did our kids run?

Our final words were of Lorraine and your family. Exactly as it should be.

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