Eleanor Margaret Hay, 1995-2022
It is with deep sadness and deep regret that we announce that on Friday 2nd September 2022 at 12.14pm our friend and colleague Eleanor Margaret Hay passed away peacefully after a short illness with her family by her side at Salford Royal Infirmary. She was only 26 years old.
Born on 18 December 1995 to teachers Peter and Kathleen Hay in Kettering, Eleanor was an only child. Caring, humorous, energetic and outgoing from the start, an early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes a month before her third birthday didn’t stop her.
With an early passion for teaching, music and performing, Eleanor was an excellent student who was involved in many extracurricular activities, including singing and playing the violin in Saturday morning music school and being a member of a national award-winning local choir. Completing twelve GCSEs and four A levels at Southfield School for Girls in Kettering, she was also Head of House and Head of Year 7, speaking of her character.
An indication of her later direction as a professional and using her innate ability to be the most approachable and engaging figure in any given room, Elle’s media career began as a hospital radio presenter for Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust on a voluntary basis . As host of a two-hour show aimed at 40-60 year olds, she let her personality shine through a mix of music and on-air games.
She soon received the Southfield Award for Media Studies in September 2014, after which she joined the University of Salford in the same year to formalize her interest in the field, reading Broadcast Journalism.
Graduating with a first class honors degree in 2017, she continued to dedicate her time to extracurricular activities during her time at university, participating in the Salford University Boat Club, where she excelled in rowing and also acted as social secretary in the last his year as a frequent contributor to both Shock Radio and Quays News in various capacities.
During her time at Quays News, Eleanor first appeared on the First Friday program as a presenter, before becoming both a sports presenter and entertainment presenter in her later academic years, highlighting her drive to push and go outside the zone you are comfortable. Elle also spent several stints at the Q Radio Network, first completing a week volunteering on the Breakfast Show in 2015, before returning a year later to broaden her experience with responsibilities including booking, part of the news team and acting skills. as principal investigator.
Never letting her hard-working nature get in the way of her social life, Elle’s ability to balance the personal and professional was an invaluable skill that made her so well-liked as a person wherever she worked, as she was valued for her time, effort and a skill she displayed in any of the myriad tasks she would undertake.
Combining all her skills in one place, it was at Manchester’s biggest student radio station – Shock Radio – that Eleanor really came into her own. Originally part of the news team delivering on-air bulletins and host of her own hour-long show, her Shower Thoughts feature quickly gained traction with listeners who participated both by phone and on social media. Promoted from her hour-long show to breakfast presenter with a two-hour slot to fill, The Wake Up Call with Eleanor Haigh ran for eight months between October 2016 and her graduation in May 2017.
After completing voluntary work at both Trinity Mirror as a reporter in Stockport and Middleton in Manchester and as a Broadcast Assistant at BBC Radio Northampton where she managed the desk of their weekly sports shows, Eleanor spent February 2018 to October 2019. in work for BBC Live as a Broadcast Assistant covering major sporting events such as the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Wimbledon, World Cup, Rowing World Cup, European Championships and USPGA Championship.
During this period – in October 2018 – Eleanor first started volunteering at Huddersfield Town as a media assistant in the club’s marketing and communications department.
Initially conducting and transcribing interviews for use both online and within the match day programme, Eleanor will also report on Academy matches on social media and provide brief coverage of First Team matches on Instagram, keeping supporters up to date of the game and gives behind-the-scenes access to pre- and post-game activities.
Impressing during her internship and establishing herself as an incredibly well-liked and productive member of the department, Eleanor successfully applied for the position of Content and Media Relations Executive on a full-time basis in November 2019, growing and expanding the role until of her passage.
Establishing herself as a leader in all Academy coverage, her affable personality and infectious enthusiasm made her the perfect team member to work with the club’s younger players, providing them with encouragement and support well beyond the parameters of her job description. A much relied upon elder sibling figure to the Academy and B team players, her willingness to provide in-depth coverage, full media training and increased visibility and accessibility on the club’s website and social media has enabled supporters, staff and players to better understanding and evaluation of the entire activity of the Academy.
With the perfect personality for her tasks within media relations, there was not a member of the outside media – young or old – who did not come to enjoy and look forward to their interaction with Elle, who was often their first point of contact in the club . Looking after the press on match days, organizing press conferences and liaising with first team players and staff regarding interviews and availability, her footprint was across the breadth of the club.
Always keen to learn and take on new tasks and increased responsibility, Eleanor grew to have a greater influence on the club’s main social media channels much to the delight of supporters who immediately recognized the work she was doing to make the online presence of Huddersfield Town more interactive, full of personality and connected. Using his well-honed presentation skills, Elle was a frequent and distinctive voice on the Club’s multimedia channels, often conducting post-match player interviews following First Team meetings.
Eleanor died near her adopted home in Manchester at Salford Royal Hospital in the early afternoon of Friday, September 2, after significant brain damage was caused by a brief and completely unexpected bout with an infection that shares the characteristics of meningitis or encephalitis. In keeping with her incredible spirit, Elle fought on longer than originally expected after first becoming ill on Sunday, August 28, allowing time for her parents, loved ones, close friends and colleagues to say their goodbyes and pay their respects – doing what she could to comfort others, even unconsciously, until her last moments.
Inundated with tributes from friends, colleagues, members of the media and countless institutions within the game and other football clubs, we would like to record our gratitude for the overwhelming kindness and solidarity that has been shown since the news broke.
Even in her final moments, Eleanor was determined to help others, an act that was completely in line with how the rest of her life unfolded. It was hoped that her heart and lungs would be donated to a patient at Papworth, and her liver to -local patient, but unfortunately both potential recipients were deteriorating and became too ill to undergo the transplant procedure.
Survived by her parents Peter and Kathleen, Elle will be laid to rest in her home town of Kettering at a date yet to be confirmed. The Club paid tribute to one of our best-loved staff ahead of kick-off at our home game against Blackpool on Sunday 4th September, and ongoing tributes to Eleanor’s memory will be shared by the Club over the coming days and weeks.