Lt Colonel John McClay

Regiment: 1st Batt Yorkshire Volunteers

Sadly Passed away peacefully at home on the 4th October 2020.
The following eulogy following the funeral is by kind permission of his daughter Sarah.

Colonel Richard Elliot TD DL

Richard Elliot, one of John’s closest friends, then spoke sharing memories of their long friendship that started in 1967 in the Territorial Army. Richard talked of the setting up of 1st Battalion of the Yorkshire Volunteers and of John’s great charisma, generosity and leadership. He mentioned a time when John spoke to almost 1,000 men from the back of a Land Rover in a clearing in a forest in Germany. His speech was characteristically brilliant, rousing and full of new ideas. John then jumped down from the vehicle and announced, “Can you sort it “ to Richard, his long-suffering 2iC.

As time went on, Richard and John’s lives became linked in so many more ways. Richard joined John’s business as their company lawyer and saw the skills in John that he had admired in the army used to great effect in the field of business. He praised John’s intelligence, confidence and calm authority. Richard and his wife Holly became embedded in McClay family life, enjoying holidays together and meals around Yorkshire. Latterly the two men became great fishing companions.

Richard talked of the television programme, ‘Gone Fishing’ with Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer, mirroring their own fishing roles. John was of course, the consummate professional, casting with ease and Richard the inept beginner spending his time catching branches rather than fish. Their fishing days on the Ure were so special to them both – quiet, contemplative times on the banks of the river and deep conversations in the Nag’s Head on the way up to and back from the Dales.

Richard finished his Eulogy with the epitaph “ and away…. “. This is a phrase said when releasing a fish back into the river and, perhaps, the only proper way to send John onto the next part of his journey.

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