Gary Hirst – I did not meet him and now never will, but he will not be forgotten


Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and this post is about saying Good-Bye to a friend and valued contributor.

Today I got an email from Gary’s partner informing me that he passed away a week ago.  About ten years ago, I reached out to Gary to get his advice on how we document model cars in our database. I admire him as he was always willing to help and share his incredible knowledge.  Over the last three years, he added more than 4,000 models to the hobbyDB database and had plans to add 1,000s more.  In fact, many diecast collectors will be familiar with Gary’s kitchen table – as his photos have a very distinctive background  –

He also helped built hobbyDB with other subjects that he was interested in such as his hometown Preston or the local bus company Ribble Motor Services.  Beyond that Gary always had great comments on how to improve the way we document model cars and other types of collectibles.

I had on many occasions invited Gary to come to see our office in Boulder or meet at one of the conventions like the Matchbox Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque and hoped that we could meet in person. However, as he was fighting an illness that was unfortunately not an option.  I do not even have a photo of him, so I will always remember him by his chosen Avatar on hobbyDB, a Ribble bus  –

For somebody I never met, I do miss Gary and the news of his untimely demise today hit me hard.  The diecast world lost somebody very special yesterday.

 

Please share an episode or add another comment below if you knew Gary
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Baskingshark
Baskingshark
5 years ago

Very sad to hear the news about Gary. I very much enjoyed his site, Garyscars. As a fellow collector of Playart cars, it was my first resource of all the castings. He will be missed.

Robinator
Robinator
5 years ago

Wow, this is very sad news indeed.  GarysCars is a great reference site for UK & International Hot Wheels models and one of the only sites to document Lone Star diecast.  Gary was a tremendous help in uploading many of the UK carded Hot Wheels to the hobbyDB project and was an expert with all the Hot Wheels UK releases.  Godspeed Gary, you will definitely be missed by everyone in the diecast collector family.

Wes
Wes
5 years ago

I didn’t know the man, but I greatly appreciate all the effort he put into documenting so many lines of toy cars. He has been an inspiration and his work has been such a huge help in learning about so many models. I am saddened to hear of his passing, the hobby has lost a remarkable advocate. He will be sorely missed.

Kevin
Kevin
5 years ago

I have visited Gary’s website many times as it was such a good reference site for the circa 3 inch sized model cars.

My condolences to his partner and let Gary’s Family know he will be missed, but his legacy will surely live on.

Rest in peace Gary.

Kevin

Milton Fox Racing
Milton Fox Racing
5 years ago

Sad to hear and my condolences to the family.  I use his site extensively and have learned a lot from it.  His efforts to build and maintain the site was and is great blessing to the diecast community.

MFR

Niels aka ninuxx
Niels aka ninuxx
5 years ago

Sad to hear that; I did not know him in person, but I visited his site regularly as it was a good information source for Husky, Playart, Corgi models!

Whenever someone was looking for information on special brands, “Gary’s page” was known and named by so many collectors and it was pleasure to see it grow.

R. I. P., Gary!

bulkat9
bulkat9
5 years ago

RIP GARY…

Holmer Aka Buggycollector
Holmer Aka Buggycollector
5 years ago

That’s not good to hear :( I did not know him personally either. But his information on his side was always very helpful. R.I.P. Gary

Christian Falkensteiner
Christian Falkensteiner
5 years ago

I am terribly shocked by this news, although it does not come as a big surprise. I am struggling to find the right words to say in this situation, so please forgive me if my statement seems awkward.

Gary Hirst was perhaps the best friend I had in this hobby. I first met him at the 1st European MICA Convention in 1993. We took several US trips together in the 1990s, until he was no longer able to travel because of the terrible disease (bone marrow cancer) which he had been suffering from since at least 1999 (although it was only diagnosed in 2000). I do not know any details about the circumstances of his death, but I assume that he finally succumbed to this disease which had caused him pain for so long. It may be a small consolation that this pain is now over.

Until recent times I often stayed at his house during my UK trips (my last visit was in 2012), and my records say that my collection contains 389 models (283 Matchbox and 106 Citroën models) which I received from him over the years. Those will keep my memory of him fresh for the rest of my life.

I am now very sorry as well as sad about the fact that he was one of the “victims” whom I failed to keep in touch with during the last two and a half years, due to huge time pressure both in my job and in my private life (too many emails and too few hours each day).

R.I.P. 🙁

Christian Falkensteiner
Christian Falkensteiner
5 years ago

And here an image of the two of us (Gary is in the front) at the 3rd European MICA Convention 1995 in Ratingen, Germany.

Jose Vargas
Jose Vargas
5 years ago

I didn’t meet him either. But I was an avid reader of his site. His knowledge will surely be missed in the collector community. My condolences to his family.

Darby C
5 years ago

That’s a nice tribute. It’s amazing how many people we get to know without ever meeting them via our hobbies.

Filter
Filter
5 years ago

That is sad.  I knew Gary and did a few deals with him a few years back.  And of course I knew his page since many years!

Rest In Peace, Gary

Jürgen
Jürgen
5 years ago

Very sad, I spend a lot of time on that page as we both collect almost the same.

RIP, Gary

siniweb
siniweb
5 years ago

Garyscars was my No.1 reference for Corgi Juniors, Playart, Impy and exotic Hot Wheels.

My sincere condolences.

Stone
Stone
5 years ago

That is so sad – I knew his page well but unfortunately never met Gary, now I never will.

Also my condolences to his family!

Bud Kalland
Bud Kalland
5 years ago

The loss of a stalwart diecast collector within the hobbydb community is deeply felt whether you had a personal connection or not. Collectors understand dedication. My condolences to his family and friends.

Dee
Dee
5 years ago

Dee.

Gary…..he was a good friend and we love to talk about the Mebetoys Flying colors boxes.

Never got the chance to meet him but talking to him throug emails it feeled i did met him.

Gary….. Rest in Peace my friend……….

Randy Rodriguez
Randy Rodriguez
5 years ago

I am so sad to hear of Gary’s passing.  We had corresponded for several years from across the pond.  The collectoring world has lost a true friend & collector.

My condolences to his family and RIP Gary……..I will miss you.

 

Toon
Toon
4 years ago

So sad to hear. I didn’t knew Gary personally, but i loved his knowledge about die-cast.
My sincere condolences to his partner, family & friends. RIP Gary.

guillermo
guillermo
4 years ago

Como muchos otros no tuve la suerte de conocerlo, pero como un fanatico de Matchbox he visitado su pagina un millon de veces, me alegra que conserven su sitio como un legado a su fantastica ayuda, descansa en paz.

Adrian Baldwin
4 years ago

I never met Gary Hirst but I visited/enjoyed his “Cars” hundreds of times over the last decade. GarysCars was bookmarked in my browser and I even have links to his site from my own so that I could point others towards him/his work. I clicked through yesterday and was sad to learn that he died last year and that his site is no more. It is a great thing that his legacy/data has been preserved by hobbyDB. The reality for all of us that run our own websites is that when we go, they are only one address/hosting renewal away from disappearing, unless of course our loved ones share our interests/skills. My condolences, belated though they are, go to Gary’s family and friends.

R.I.P.

Luke Twigg
Luke Twigg
2 years ago

Only just heard about his passing today,

I shared stalls at the NEC with Gary, so knowledgeable and passionate about all diecast; I used to rinse him for info! I have so many of Gary’s cars and still have cases with “Gary’s cars” written on where he’d sold me a set of something. Used to go round after work to have a tea and a piece of cake- So great I could call him a friend. Cheers Gary

John Bingley
John Bingley
2 years ago

I learned so much about the models from my childhood from Gary’s site and even met him briefly at an NEC toyfair several years ago. We chatted briefly about Husky models, he was a warm genuine person, sadly missed.

Keith
Keith
2 years ago

RIP Gary

It’s taken me some time to pick up a pen and write a few words.  It’s quite a task as I knew Gary for around 20 years.  Our paths first crossed on 1 March 1984 when we started working in the same office which we shared.

Around that time when I was studying I got the Frank Thompson guide to Matchbox out of the library for some light relief.  I dug out models from my childhood some yesteryears as Mom liked those and regulars which I preferred.  I did not get thecexams but found myself getting more and more into Matchbox.  At work one day I mentioned this to Gary and he dug out his Matchbox buses from his childhood lots of BEA coaches I recall from his parents in Preston.  I think that started his interest and he found an old toys shop in Preston Greenaway’s I think where they had older late 70’s models.  So we both started getting the later models.

However Gary had other passions some of which I shared music we both went to see New Order numerous times, Cricket -Lancashire, Football Gary supported Leeds United I never got that one.

We went to many gigs and spent time sorting bootleg tapes at his flat in Moseley eg Buzzcocks, Billy Bragg, The Jam, Sisters of Mercy.

Collecting wise we soon got into the swap meet scene and we would team up to travel to fairs all over the country eg once a trip to Glasgow.  We also went to Turkey and to numerous MICA conventions and also to the USA.

We were soon doing some trading at the conventions and meeting other collectors like Christian Falkensteiner.  I recall our trips to the USA but as I did most of the driving I don’t really remember too much.

At the time Gary moved into a small house and left the company we were both at.  We kept in touch but our collecting diversified and Gary started to do more trading.

I was never a great collector Gary and I would go to auctions but I tend to be an impulsive buyer and generally would buy lots of different things.  Gary was much more focussed and when he first became ill the collecting community gave him some focus.

Christian would come over and the last time I recall us meeting up was going to the Jaguar museum with Christian as Gary was too I’ll.  However Gary and I started to lose touch I was finding it difficult to make time and I had also got a house with my wife.  I was also going over to my parents as Mum had vascular dementia.

The last time I saw Gary was probably at Walsall Wood probably 5 years ago.

My email address got changed and thus we lost touch.

We did have some good times when collecting.  In fact a lot of those Lone Star models on Gary’s Cars were mine as I lent him my models to photo for a few weeks.

I remember going to conventions and also recall one time we went to see Rob Freeman in Worcester to talk super fast.  In fact I think Rob bought some of Gary’s models.

I’ve mentioned the music and the cricket we went to a number of Lords finals.  Gary also liked a pint of Real Ale so have a drink for him.

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