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Tributes paid to Sheffield’s Owlerton Stadium boss following death aged 65 

Tributes have been paid to the boss of Sheffield’s Owlerton Stadium who died suddenly aged 65.    

Trained accountant John Gilburn joined the greyhound racing venue in 2007 and became managing director. 

John Gilburn, managing director of Owlerton Stadium.

John Gilburn, managing director of Owlerton Stadium.

Dave Allen, chairman of A&S Leisure Group, which owns the stadium, announced the news of Mr Gilburn’s “sudden death” earlier this week.

He said: “John will be sorely missed not only at the Stadium, but throughout the company and the industry at large and will be impossible to replace.”

A number of Star readers have now taken to Facebook to express their sadness and to pay tribute to him.

Denise Mullen said: “Terrible news, I was privileged to work with John during his Belle Vue days - really nice guy. So sorry to hear of his passing.”

Jenny Darwin added: “What a shock, used to work at the stadium. He was such a lovely guy and always friendly, thoughts are with his family.”

Denise Brown posted: “I knew John very well when I worked at Owlerton, he was a very nice man.

“All my deepest sympathy goes out to the family.

Susan Bailey described him as a “nice man” who she met when she worked on the tote at the stadium.

Melanie Jackson said: “So sad, worked with John loads over the years – a lovely lovely man.” 

Nicole Dimelow said she was “shocked” and passed on her “deepest sympathy” to his family.  

Mr Gilburn had previously worked as manager of Belle Vue Greyhound Stadium in Manchester and was elected chairman of the Race Course Promoters' Association at the start of this year.

He had been the mastermind behind plans for a £5 million banqueting and conference suite at Owlerton. 

Proposals would see the facility built between the greyhound track and Napoleon’s Casino at the Penistone Road site. 

It would be able to accommodate 500 guests and could open as soon as Easter 2019.