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Chris Todd courtesy of Chris Todd 02

Christopher Todd. Image provided to THM by Christoper Todd prior to his passing.

05.05.1946 – 16.08.2018

It is with great sadness that we have to let you know that Christopher Todd died this morning, Thursday 16 August, with his family at his side.

Chris umpired his first international hockey match in 1974, becoming England’s youngest ever FIH umpire at the time. In all, Chris, or Christopher as he preferred to be called latterly, umpired 110 internationals, including matches at one Olympic Games (Barcelona 1992, during which he received the FIH Golden Whistle Award upon umpiring his 100th international game), six World Cups, and three European Championships. He was also appointed to the Olympics in Moscow 1980, but withdrew at the request of the British Olympic Committee, when Great Britain did not take up their place at the Games.

Chris was on the inaugural panel of umpires for the English National League when it started in 1988 and, although he did not umpire under the auspices of NPUA, having retired from umpiring by the time the Association was formed in 2004, he served us with great diligence as a selector, assessor, coach and mentor over several years. Many umpires around the country, but especially those who operated in the North – whose corner Chris was always willing to fight - appreciated his informed, wise and kindly words.

In 2017 Chris produced and printed a voluminous guide on Hockey Umpiring Top Tips, which gathered together much of his learning over the years and which he was proud to distribute to umpiring friends and colleagues.

Chris was a chemistry teacher at Calday Grammar School where he was Master in Charge of Hockey. He drove school hockey within Wirral and was ever-present at county, regional and national school and club events.

He was also a Vice President of England Hockey, a role from which he derived immense pride, a Vice President of the Army Hockey Association, a life member of both North HUA and North HA and the first ever Patron of North West HUA.

Also a former President of Cheshire HA, North HUA, and current President North West HUA.

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Christopher’s funeral service will be held at Liverpool Cathedral. Details will be published here when they are known.

 Chris Reece, 17 August 2018

 

The Hockey Museum's oral history interview with Christopher Todd can be found here. Listen to Todd's hockey career in his own words. The Museum has used an extract from this interview in its current exhibition: The Hockey Museum First XI.

pdfThe Hockey Museum is saddened to hear of the death of Liz Chase, a member of the Zimbabwean women's hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The Zimbabwe team, nicknamed the 'Golden Girls', only knew they were competing thirty-five days before the start of the event making them the unlikeliest winners of an Olympic gold medal. As Cathy Harris writes in The Times obituary (download by clicking the PDF icon), five of the six teams withdrew as a result of the boycotts and Zimbabwe got their opportunity.

Liz was a vivacious and popular member of the team. She continued to work for hockey in her home country for many years afterwards but she will always be best remembered as being one of the 'Golden Girls'.

Jan Brittin in 1990 European Clubs Championships in Frankfurt 1990Jan Britten (red) in the European Clubs Championship in Frankfurt, 1990.
Image courtesy of Katie Dodd.

The Hockey Museum was saddened by the news of the untimely death of Janette Britten, known to everyone as JB. The media has understandably had extensive coverage of her cricketing achievements but for many in the hockey world she was an equally outstanding hockey player.

Glynis Culley, former Ealing LHC player, first came across JB as a junior playing cricket and recognised that as a talented hockey player she would relish the opportunity to play the game at a higher level. She joined Ealing LHC in 1980 and I had the pleasure of playing with her for the next ten years. She quickly became the rock at the heart of the club first team – she could play most defensive/midfield positions but it was as sweeper that she excelled and where she best demonstrated her exceptional skills and reading of a game. She rarely missed a tackle or failed to pass the ball to someone in her own team. She was part of all the Ealing LHC National Championship winning teams of the 1980s, both indoor and outdoor, and went on to play for Ealing in the European Clubs events.

JB had first tasted hockey success while playing at Chelsea PE College when they played in Europe as National Club Champions and she later gained representative honours playing for Surrey and the South. While she did play for England indoor in 1987, it was a mystery to many of us as to why she never gained more recognition at this level – her skills, fitness, reading of a game and competitiveness put her up there with the best players of that era. Former England and Ealing LHC Coach, Jenny Cardwell felt that she was probably one of the finest players never to have gained full England caps. Ealing’s long standing Indoor Coach, Peter Domone commented that JB was such a huge talent, a great team member and a joy to coach with her commitment and outrageous skills.

JB was a very private person who never sought the limelight so I’m not sure what she would have made of the many tributes that have been paid to her. The many messages and tributes have come from people who played with her, against her or simply had the pleasure of watching her – be it at cricket, hockey or even on the golf course in more recent years. She was admired and loved by so many, she will be greatly missed.

A full tribute to JB has been written by Cathy Harris and it appeared in The Times newspaper on Friday 15 September. A copy is appended to the bottom of this article with Cathy’s permission.

JB’s funeral will be held on Tuesday 26 September at 1.30pm at Surrey and Sussex crematorium Balcombe Road, Crawley RH10 3NQ; then afterwards at Pyecombe Golf Club, Clayton Hill, Brighton BN45 7FF. All are welcome. The family have requested no flowers but If you would like to donate to St Peter and St James's Hospice, then please send your donation to the funeral directors: The Co-op funeral Care 6-8 South Road Haywards Heath RH16 4LA (reference Jan Brittin). There will also be a collection on the day of the funeral.

Katie Dodd
THM Trustee and Ealing LHC

 

The article immediately below is reproduced with the permission of Cathy Harris.
The second document (bottom) is a compilation of other obituaries to Britten from aroud the world.

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 Robin Wilmott

Robin Willmott

 

Obituary

Over the years, Southgate Hockey Club has had a number of very dedicated members, who have helped to make Southgate Hockey Club the great club that it is today. Robin Willmott was one of them.

Robin joined the club in 1948 after National Service in the Grenadier Guards. His family lived in Highgate, North London and he was educated at Aldenham School, where he learnt his hockey. During the rest of the 1940s and 1950s Robin played in 1st X1 and 2nd X1. In 1950 he was a founding member of the Pistons Summer Hockey Club.

When I joined the club in 1959 Robin and his wife Joan were often to be seen in the clubhouse at the Walker Ground along with their boisterous sons John (our President) and Tim. Sadly Joan was to die in 1973.

Robin had joined the club committee in the early ‘50s and was later on appointed a Vice-president. In 1974 Robin succeeded Laurie Norman as President and then was made a Life Member. At that time our 1st team (we had no ladies until 1982) was very strong and we won the National League which qualified us to compete in Europe.

Robin wrote in our Centenary magazine: “Few members outside the 1st X1 had any idea of what was going to be involved and so this placed considerable strain on the club’s administration as very substantial sums had to be raised”. We became European Cup Champions in 1976 and again 1977 and 1978. In the late seventies, we had 13 Internationals in our squad. These were the club’s glory years and Robin, as the then President, played a major part.

Robin played in every team and captained several in his long playing career. In 1986 the committee decided to renumber the teams and I became captain of the 7th X1. Robin took over the following year and renamed the team the Magnums, which is our [Southgate’s] Over 50s team.

Away from hockey Robin joined the family building company of John Willmott & Sons (Hornsey) Ltd in 1948. Eventually this was to become Willmott Dixon where Robin was a main board Director. Amazingly Trissa was already Mrs Willmott with four sons and Robin and his new wife Trissa then moved to Bedfordshire. Robin went on to become the High Sherriff and Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.

By 1990 the club was hiring up to four artificial pitches every Saturday and it became quite obvious that we should have our own astro pitch(es). After 100 years at the Walker Ground inevitably there was some opposition to a move. Several sites were considered until Saracens suggested that we had a joint facility in Trent Park, then occupied by Middlesex University.

After a while we realised that we wouldn’t get planning permission for a very large club house and Saracens left us to it. In 1994 Southgate Sports & Leisure Trust (SSLT; a charity) was formed and Robin became its first chairman and guided the Directors on the project. The cost of our move to Trent Park was £1.4 million. The board explored every way of raising money and the greatest day was when we received a grant for £626,000 from the National Lottery.

Not long after our move to Trent Park, Robin retired from the board of SSLT, but continued to take an interest in club matters.

Robin was a delightful man and always a gentleman. Southgate Hockey Club is very grateful to have had him as a member.

Adrian Scott Knight, June 2017

 

 
Funeral Tribute

I first met Robin well over 50 years ago playing hockey for Southgate and for the Old Aldenhamians. I remember him as a formidable full-back. His passion for the game lasted a lifetime even to the extent of attending ,as a Vice-President,with Trissa the annual President’s day at Bedford Hockey Club in March this year when he was so very unwell. His longevity as a player was exceptional ending up playing in what was, I think, the 9th team at Southgate in which all the players were grandfathers!

Robin was a gentleman in both senses of the word-invariably polite and gentle and humorous in manner. He served our County with distinction in many ways as an active Deputy Lieutenant for 10 years and in 1990 as High Sheriff, when the focus of his support was, not surprisingly, sport and the value for young people of active participation in sporting activities. Robin never forgot his Guards heritage taking on the role of President of the Household Division association in Luton and being a Vice-president of the Northampton Grenadiers association. He also took on many other voluntary roles including that of Chairman of Bedford Victim Support and The Road Victims Trust, Chairman of the Council of Bedfordshire St John Ambulance, Chairman of Pinehill Hospital in Hitchin and Treasurer of Mid-Bedfordshire Conservative Association. He was also a patron of many other organisations. In addition he was a great supporter of Trissa’s extensive charitable work on Bedfordshire Red Cross Appeals committee, the Sharnbrook House Committee and the activities of the Bedford Hospitals Charity. His contribution to the life of this county was immense.

Personally I owe a great deal to Robin because he nominated me to be High Sheriff. I always remember a surprising and secretive visit to my office in Bedford when he asked if I was prepared to be nominated. I remember saying, showing my ignorance, “What does a High Sheriff do?” – I know now!

A fact that I did not know is that Robin spoke fluent French and Trissa says that once, when they were in Martinique, he was mistaken for a Frenchman.

The last few years have been very difficult for Trissa as Robin’s health gradually deteriorated and mobility and many other problems took hold. I know that her care for Robin has been quite extraordinary supported by the family and, I am very pleased to say, outstanding help from the NHS, particularly from nurses Emma and Mary and the staff at Bedford Hospital.

Bedfordshire has lost a great servant. Robin will be missed by us all, particularly by Trissa and the family. Robin, rest in peace.

Brian Woodrow

Roger Self courtesy of Joanna Norton

Roger Self OBE with THM's Evelyn Somerville at Champions Trophy 2016.

 

Roger Self OBE, who led Britain's men's team to Olympic gold in 1988, died at home on Monday 5 June. He had been suffering from inclusion body myositis for the last 12 years. He was 77.

His wife Hilary, to whom he was married for 49 years, was present at his bedside. He leaves behind five children, William, Joanna, Leonie, Harriet and Natalie.

Roger was a qualified and practising physical education teacher in Worcestershire before he turned his capable hands to the world of financial advice initially as an insurance broker and, after changes in the financial services laws in 1987, as an independent financial advisor. He established his own financial services company, Roger Self Ltd, in Stratford upon Avon. Roger’s son William joined the business and has managed the transition of ‘Self’ (Chartered Financial Planners) over the last decade to become one of the first ever fee-only independent firms of Chartered Financial Planners in the UK

As a player he played for Redditch and Worcestershire but Roger’s coaching ability was recognised by the then Welsh Team Manager Tony Bannister who invited Roger to prepare the Welsh men’s team for the European Nations Cup in Brussels in 1970. He was then manager and coach for the European's in Madrid in 1974 before stepping down in 1977. His ‘no compromise’ approach to both tactics and fitness brought unparalleled success to the Welsh team during his time in charge. He confided in Bryn Williams that his greatest coaching achievement was coaching Wales to winning the Triple Crown the year after Wales beat England 1-0 in Penarth for the first time in decades. His greatest disappointment was being overlooked for the GB coaching job for the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Shrewd observers at Southgate Hockey Club, however, invited him to coach Southgate in their second attempt to win the European Club Cup in 1976. Southgate, with a squad brimming with England and GB players the likes of Tony Ekins, Mike Crowe, Mike Corby, David Whitaker, Ian McGinn, Bernie Cotton, David Aldridge, Bob Cattrall, and David Owen, had failed at their first attempt in Frankfurt 1975. Roger got the best out of the team, winning in Amsterdam in 1976 and repeating the tour de force in both 1977 and 1978.

His impact with Southgate attracted the attention of the GB Hockey Board and Roger was appointed GB Coach for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Sadly, in March 1980 the home country associations voted to support the Government-led boycott of the Moscow Games. Roger was called upon to lead the GB team into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games at very short notice after the Russian boycott of Los Angeles in retaliation for the USA boycott of Moscow 1980 that let GB in. With David Whitaker now coaching at his side, the team unexpectedly won the Bronze Medal.

Roger continued as GB Team Manager throughout the preparations for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games where history was made as Richard Dodds captained the team to Olympic Gold. Gold medallist and former GB Performance Director, David Faulkner, explained that “with David Whitaker, they were both way ahead of their time in performance coaching and people. He always put the athlete first even if it was delivering a difficult message and without his guidance and wisdom when I became Performance Director, the GB solution (Framework Agreement) may have never been reached”.

The Roger Self/David Whitaker partnership was at the heart of GB success in 1984 and 1988. David recalls these heady days as follows. “What I valued most about Roger during our involvement with him in the management team was his willingness to move with the times if we had good cogent rationale and showed that it worked. Our progress with England between '84 and '87 was testament to that because the GB team of ‘88 was significantly better than that of ‘84. His leadership of GB was outstanding, especially at the strategic level both for the entity that was GB and how to lead players who were amateurs in an increasingly 'professional' hockey world. Without Roger, GB would have died as a powerful entity and we would have lost so much. As I remember well, we had some great debates but they were always focused on doing the best for the players and getting the best out of them. Often challenging but always valuable.”

His interest in international hockey, and his strongly held beliefs on how GB teams should play, continued after he stepped down. He became President of the GB Hockey Board (2004-2008). “GB's recent successes would not have happened without his leadership and willingness (along with others) to tackle the issues and deliver the Framework Agreement.” (Bryn Williams).

Roger also took an active role in the administration of the sport after his team management days, taking an active role on the Rules and Equipment FIH sub committees.

“He was certainly unusual, even unique and I look back on my involvement with him both as a player and coach with much fondness, laughter and thankfulness. I am so pleased to have been involved with Roger.” (David Whitaker)

“His clear hockey thinking, strong views and ability to engender great loyalty from his players, enabled him to set standards of leadership that others could only hope to emulate. He will be sorely missed.” (Bernie Cotton)

His passion for hockey and the people within it will be remembered for a long time as he made such a massive contribution to high performance hockey during his career. The legacy of the GB Framework agreement lives on and there is no doubt the recent Gold medal from the GB Women in Rio has its foundations in that agreement.

Bernie Cotton, 7 June 2017

 

Discover Roger Self in his own words by listening to The Hockey Museum’s oral history here.

pdfOther Roger Self obituaries:
The Times (click the PDF icon to the right; courtesy of Cathy Harris and The Times)
Hockey Wales
Fieldhockey.com (bottom of the page on their website)
Redditch HC

This features page contains obituaries, previously appearing in the News section of the website, of persons who have made a significant contribution to hockey’s history. They are all people who have been in the forefront of innovation in the sport.

This section of the website is the go-to location to celebrate and commemorate the lives and achievements of these remarkable people.

"Chasing tomorrow’s horizons with yesterday’s legs”

 

Gerald Wilkinson, 01.09.1934-17.04.2017

The Hockey Museum is saddened to report the passing of Gerald Wilkinson, an English pioneer of Masters and Grand Masters hockey, aged 82, after a year-long battle with leukaemia and motor neurone disease.

A chartered surveyor, his hockey career spanned seven clubs – Deeside Ramblers, Salisbury, Wimbledon, Guildford, Southgate, Witham and Chelmsford. He had an equally broad association with invitational clubs – Tramps, Travellers, Hop Pickers, Centaurs, Llamas, Angels, Iceni Rex and LX clubs.

He represented England at Over 40s, 60s, 65s, 70s and 75s, the highlight of which was captaining England to a 4-1 victory over The Netherlands in the first Over 60s World Cup final in Utrecht in 1998.

In 1995 he was a founder of the LX club for Over 60s, the forerunner of the England Masters and Grand Masters teams.

He was also a founder member of the Angels touring club, played on their inaugural tour of USA and Bermuda in 1963 and subsequently played in over 50 countries across all five continents.

He played hockey on the day of his wedding to Birgit, a German-born goalkeeper and a fellow Angel, at Chelmsford HC and then went on a seven-week honeymoon on tour with the Angels, taking in Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and USA.

Off the field he held a number of Essex administrative posts and was a Masters committee member for ten years.

His sporting prowess was not confined to hockey. He also had success in athletics as the multiple British Over 60s long jump champion from 2000-2016. On a wider stage, he came fourth in the Over 80s World Championship in Lyon in 2015 and held the British record for the Over 80s (indoors and outdoors) in 2015 with a leap of 3.51m for the event. He was also British Over 60s Triple Jump champion on one occasion.

Our condolences go to Birgit and his sons Ben and Phil.

A funeral service will be held at Chelmsford Crematorium, Writtle Road CM1 1BL at 3.30pm on Tuesday 9 May followed by a celebration of Gerald’s life at Chelmsford HC, Chelmer Park, Beehive Lane, Chelmsford CM2 8RL.

Donations are welcome to Farleigh Hospice and Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Mike Haymonds, April 2017

Alan Walker presentation

Lt Commander Alan Walker RN receiving a painting of HMS Victory at the time of the Royal Navy centenary.

 

Although we knew Alan was very ill, his death on the 17 February came with great sadness to all his friends at The Hockey Museum and throughout the hockey world. Hockey and history were two of his greatest passions and his bywords were loyalty and friendship. It is a sure fact that had he known the date of his death he would have told us of some great naval or hockey event that took place on that day.

Alan leaves a legacy to Royal Navy Hockey of which both the other services are very envious. It has been a life’s work and the history of Royal Navy hockey which he started will be completed by his friends. We can never do it in Alan’s style but do it, we will. Talking of Alan’s style, we must embrace the use of ‘Alan’s Verse’ which he used frequently to deliver speeches, reports and appreciations. We have many of these verses in the file but here are a few that tell a little of his early life as a sailor.

 

Alan’s Story: Aspects of War.

In nineteen hundred and sixty-five,
After five years training on shore,
I joined a Commando Carrier Albion,
She took me off to war.

I’d joined the Navy years before,
It certainly wasn’t to fight.
To serve my Queen and Country,
By giving all enemies a fright.

For six months I carried another man’s case,
Getting familiar with my job’s future employ;
And gradually lots of stuff fell in place,
And I took over from this other boy.

I helped him then with his studying,
And the exam he took and passed;
All this was done in a war zone,
As we served before the mast.

We’d take a load of Commando Marines,
Fly to jungle round the back,
Insert them into head hunters’ scene,
And then head out to go back.

On t’ way we’d pick up another lot,
Who we’d put in three months before;
It was quite the usual thing you got,
Only half those you put in before.

It became quite the norm for us,
To lose quite a lot of old mates;
People you’d got used to being around,
That now gone thro’ t’ Pearly Gates.

Putting ‘em in and taking ‘em out,
Of the jungles round Borneo and Malaya,
We were just a great big ferry boat,
But as such a major player.

 

From these early service days as a sailor, like so many of his era, Alan discovered hockey and became very competent at it. He made over one hundred appearances for the Navy between 1968 and 1985 in an era when the standard of services hockey was very high. He duly received his commission and became a ‘schoolie’ or more correctly an Education Officer. This naturally drew Alan into coaching, his vehicle for sharing his passion. He was one of the very first qualified hockey coaches in England in 1970 and went on to establish high quality coaching in the Royal Navy and was an integral part of the development of the national coaching framework in England. Anyone who attended one of Alan’s residential coaching courses will remember it with affection. He was rightly proud of helping many hundreds if not thousands of people into hockey coaching and of course through those coaches countless people came into hockey.

Alan Walker at EuroHockey Nations 2015

Alan Walker at The Hockey Museum's exhibition during the EuroHockey Nations Championship, 2015.

Alan’s coaching and organisational skills drew him onwards and upwards. No list could ever be complete because he did so much. He played hockey for the Royal Navy over one hundred times as well as for the Combined Services. In similar vein, he was Chief Coach to the Royal Navy and then the Combined Services. In 1986 Alan took retirement from the Royal Navy only to become secretary of Navy Hockey, a post that he retained for twenty-five years. In the 1990s Alan re-founded Gosport HC and he took great pride in seeing their junior teams win national awards. Having introduced his daughters to hockey at Havant HC, he became their club coach at a time when they were the top club in the UK. He was on the National Coaching Committee and became a Hockey Association (HA) Staff Coach, which led to him becoming England U21 Manager in 1992. This was an inspired appointment as Alan took the team to Bombay in 1993 only to be bombed out of their hotel. It was his cool military experience that held things together and resulted in the team’s return to Heathrow ‘fully suited and booted’ as though nothing had happened. On the amalgamation of the All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) and the HA Alan was appointed Chairman of the first ever joint National Coaching Committee.

After over half a century in Naval Service – or to put it in Alan’s more precise terms, fifty years and 285 days – he retired on Trafalgar Day 2010. Prior to this Alan was key to the celebration of the centenary of Royal Navy Hockey, which was discharged in real style with a splendid dinner and lots of hockey at HMS Temeraire, better known in the hockey world as Burnaby Road. It was here that a tangible and lasting Thank You was made to Alan. Thinking that he was attending an event to present the prizes he found himself confronted with new wrought iron gates to the stadium pitch, announcing to the hockey world that is was now The Alan Walker Stadium.

In Alan’s own words the proudest day of his life was the day commemorating the Royal Navy Hockey Association Centenary. The event was a cocktail party on board HMS Victory – where else? A brilliant evening culminated, in the setting sun, with an amazing display by the Band of HM Royal Marines, Portsmouth. Flanked by two Admirals, special permission was given for Alan to take the salute. Alan described of himself: “There was little old Alan Walker, stood in his civvy suit when the Drum Major marched up, saluted dramatically and said ‘Display completed, Sir. Request your permission to play the National Anthem and then to march off to the Regimental March – ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’. Bursting with sheer pride I blustered out, “Yes Please!”

Having devoted his life to the service of hockey, both in the Royal Navy and as a civilian, those of us who knew of his industry and dedication to our sport cannot understand why he was never to receive an Honour.

Mike Smith, Curator, 2 March 2017

Peter Savage courtesy of Peter SavageIt is with great sadness that The Hockey Museum records the untimely death of one of its greatest supporters and friends. Peter has given so much to hockey and he had hoped to do so much more. He accepted the inevitability of his illness with amazing bravery and even humour. You can read his comments on his last journey on his Rabbit in my Head website.

Peter found hockey quite by chance. He hailed from North London and there was no hockey at his rugby playing school. During a particularly wet winter when even the rugby pitches were unavailable, the PE master found some shinty sticks and the boys exercised on the playground. Peter’s love of hockey was born. It is fitting to note that his introduction to hockey was with an historic version of the game.

After leaving school he began to play at club level and, by his own admission, he was not a very skilled field player, so he moved into goal. However the club had five goalkeepers for four teams and he turned to umpiring. His hockey career proceeded, sometimes on the field, mainly in goal and often with the whistle but he proudly boasted of being a player from age nineteen to forty-three. As work moved Peter around he played for a number of clubs, including Beckenham, South Saxons and Brighton and Hove, as well as for the Sussex Constabulary.

It was towards the end of his police career that Peter’s interest in journalism came to the fore. He was asked to do a regular umpiring feature for Hockey Sport magazine and to obtain photographs to accompany his writing he began to take his own pictures. His modest camera was regularly updated as his skills developed and he became one of hockey’s most accomplished photographers.

His passion for hockey took him all over the world – to many Hockey World Cups (both outdoors and indoors), European Championships, Champions Trophies and of course the London Olympics. When asked what his most exciting hockey photographic experience was, his answer was the 2012 London Olympics. However he only obtained accreditation at the last minute as the demand for Press Passes was the highest ever. Initially rejected, he ‘got in’ because the demise of the News of the World meant that extra passes became available. That may have been lucky but Peter was a firm believer that one makes one’s own luck in life. He certainly did that in the 2009 European Championship final between England and Germany. All Peter’s photographer colleagues fancied a German win (and goals) so positioned themselves at the England goal end. Peter was alone at the German end and with England winning 5-3 he got the best shots. We are proud and grateful to say that Peter’s photographic archive is now housed at The Hockey Museum.

Peter also held a number of administrative posts as a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association, the International Sports Press Association, and was also a committee member and chairman of the Hockey Writers’ Club.

His journalistic skills were to be further extended to include the spoken word. Quite by chance he became the regular announcer and commentator for a local horse show, because the regular man disappeared! He enjoyed this and was soon doing work for Radio Sussex and it was not long before he started his Talk Hockey Radio with weekly podcasts. These interviews and spoken stories now form part of the oral history project at The Hockey Museum. It was the knowledge of Peter’s experience in this area that drew us to him when we began to consider oral history. His advice and encouragement were invaluable in setting up our Heritage Lottery-funded project and it is because of his support that we named the collection after him. As well as having Peter’s podcasts in our collection we were able to do a full oral history with Peter last summer. Your compiler of this appreciation has written many similar pieces over the years, however to obtain more information for this I was able to listen to the interview Peter gave us last year. It was the first time I have been able to refer to the spoken as opposed to the written word and it was comforting to listen to his familiar, friendly voice chatting away about the many aspects of his hockey life. To listen to the interview yourself, click here.

Peter Savage 70th cakeThere were other loves in Peter’s life beyond hockey and one was railways. His recent 70th birthday was marked with a superb cake (right) that included three dimensional imagery of a train and a camera. However, the greatest love in Peter’s life was undoubtedly his wife and best friend Stella. To see them together said it all and all of us at The Hockey Museum send our love and condolences to Stella at this difficult time.

Mike Smith, The Hockey Museum Curator
6 February 2017

Rachael Heyhoe Flint from Hockey Field vol 51 no 13 March 1964 low resI was very saddened by the recent announcement of the death of Rachael Heyhoe Flint. Having listened to the many tributes on the TV and radio and read the extensive newspaper coverage on front, media, sports and obituaries pages, you could be in no doubt that Rachael was not only a very talented sports woman but also a special person who touched the lives of so many people.

The tributes have understandably concentrated on her cricketing career, her time at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football club and as a campaigner for women’s sport but little on her hockey exploits. I felt this was an omission that needed to be corrected as after all, she was a double internationalist having played for the England Hockey team in the 1960s.

Was she one of hockey’s ‘greats’? Probably not, but for those of us who had the pleasure of playing with her or knowing her in the hockey environment she was an extraordinary person – fun-loving, quick witted, persuasive, a campaigner, a writer, a raconteur but above all, an outstanding sportswoman.

A Wolverhampton girl through and through, she taught at Wolverhampton Girls Grammar School after qualifying from Dartford College and played for local hockey club, Tettenhall Ladies going on to be Club Captain and a Club Vice President. While cricket was her first love, she somehow found the time to also play representative hockey and in the early 1960s her talents were rewarded by selection as GK for Staffordshire, the Midlands and then the England team in 1964. She played in four full internationals including the Wembley match where they beat the Scots 3-2 and then the Dutch by the same score.

Rachael Heyhoe Flint in England team photo from Hockey Field vol 51 no 12 March 1964 low resRachael Heyhoe Flint in an England team photo from Hockey Field magazine, vol.51 no.12, March 1964.
Above left: Portrait of Rachael Heyhoe Flint from
Hockey Field magazine, vol.51 no.13, March 1964.

Brenda Read, a former England team mate remembers an occasion during the Midland Counties Hockey Tournament at Ramsgate when the matches were all cancelled due to the weather, “The players used to entertain each other and Melvyn Hickey, Rachael and I did several skits including the shipping forecast and a take-off of ‘Fanny and Johnny Craddock’ (older folk will recall their cookery shows!)”. She went on to add “Rachael was great company and the best all round games player I have known.” Her ability to play sport to the highest level but also have fun was well known. Brenda again recalls “at one club cricket match she came in to bat wearing a shower cap and carrying a mop with a wooden handle and of course she connected the mop with the first delivery and dispatched the ball to mid-off”.

I first met Rachael when I started playing for the South and England and she was the Telegraph hockey correspondent. Her sense of fun and easy manner made conversation flow. I think many of the hockey hierarchy of the time were somewhat wary of her as she probably knew the players a lot better than they did! Fellow international player, Sue Slocombe, remembers Rachael’s thoughtfulness, “Rachael had arranged for hockey boot sponsorship for the team. I had a mild form of polio as a child so have a shorter left leg and a left foot two sizes smaller than my right. Rachael had noted this and when the boots arrived with everyone's names on the boxes, mine said ‘Dolly Mixture’ on the lid and in it was a pair of boots with the left foot two sizes smaller than the right – they were so comfortable!” Former England captain, Anita White, also remembers her “unique style and wonderful sense of humour. When we won the World Cup in Edinburgh in 1975, I was not surprised to find that she’d managed to invite herself to the England teams’ party afterwards!”

I got to know Rachael well when she came to play for my club, Ealing LHC, in the early 1980s when we needed a GK. By then in her early 40s, I’m sure that fellow England cricket colleagues Glynis Culley and Janette Britten who played for Ealing must have persuaded her to pull on the GK pads again. In the days before helmets, modern kickers, and full body protection, I remember Rachael as a somewhat diminutive figure between the posts. But this first impression was swiftly dispelled once the game started as her agility, eye for a ball and competitive spirit kept many a clean sheet. She did want to win every game but that did not stop her coming out with jokes or amusing comments in the middle of play. Netta Forward, the Ealing captain, remembers her eating a sweet just before a match that turned the inside of her mouth bright blue – during the game she then opened her mouth wide to any opposing forward that got too close! We all have fond memories of those matches where Rachael turned up with son, Ben, in tow and always added energy and fun to the day. Even after hanging up her pads for good, she continued to support the club and spoke a number of times at our annual dinners.

Over the past few days I have received so many messages from hockey friends who also knew or admired Rachael. Many had fond or amusing stories which for me sum up Rachael the person. She also showed support for other hockey friends and it was only recently, and at a time she would have known about her own illness, that I received a lovely message from her on hearing of the death of former hockey international, Melvyn Pignon (nee Hickey). The tribute was generous, calling her a true hockey legend but she also recounting several amusing stories about their time together in the 1960s. She signed herself “The Wicked Baroness of Wolverhampton and Tettenhall Ladies HC”. The wit was still there.pdf

We have surely lost a great friend and member of the hockey family.

Cathy Harris, journalist and friend of Racheal, wrote a personal tribute to Racheal that appeared in The Times on Thursday 19 January. Click on the pdf to read it. Reproduced on THM website with permission from Cathy Harris.

Katie Dodd
THM Trustee, former England International and Ealing LHC
30 January 2017

Colwill

Bill Colwill (right) receives the Doug Gardner Award in 2007.

 

Bill Colwill OBE, 15 October 1930–13 November 2016

Tributes from the hockey family around the world have poured in following the death of Bill Colwill, aged 86, at the weekend.

In a hockey career spanning over six decades Bill was involved in all aspects of the game and earned the highest respect from those who knew him. He was a sports journalist for many years, covering both domestic and international hockey, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game.

Bill was born in Horrabridge, Devon, and educated at Tavistock Grammar School. His love of hockey started from a young age and, as a schoolboy, he saw Great Britain’s first Olympic medal at Wembley in 1948 and was also present reporting on their gold medal in Seoul in 1988.

His playing career was limited to his London University team Birkbeck College as cricket took precedence. He was an umpire to domestic divisional level, although he did have one international (Yugoslavia vs USA) at a Folkestone Festival.

Bill was Hockey Correspondent for the Independent from its first day of publication in September 1986 when he reported on England’s World Cup game against Argentina from Willesden. He covered Olympics, World Cups, Champions Trophy and Continental Cups and reported on hockey from all five continents having first started writing for the Observer in the early 70s.

In 2007 he received the world governing body FIH’s President’s Award for Hockey, presented by the then President Els van Brieda Vriesman of Netherlands.

He was an Associate Editor of the publications World Hockey and Hockey Sport and was a regular contributor and adviser for many years.

Bill was Treasurer of the Sports Journalists’ Association for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006, when he won the Doug Gardner Award for his outstanding contribution to the Association and sports journalism. He was made an honorary member of the SJA and continued as Membership Secretary for several years.

He was Secretary of the Hockey Writers’ Club from 1983 to 1995, then Chairman until 1999, and became a Vice-president in 2000. He edited 90 issues of the club newsletter, The Hockey Writer, until 2015.

Bill was a civil servant in the Central Office of Information, working with Bernard Ingham in Margaret Thatcher’s government. He was awarded the OBE in 1990, one year before his retirement.

His wife, Jean, whom he married in 1955, supported him loyally in his love for hockey, both at home and abroad, as sometime co-reporter, regular proof reader and amenuensis. She died in 2010 and he leaves a son Peter, who is a long-time member of Amersham and Chalfont Hockey Club.

His fellow journalist Patrick Rowley, paid tribute: “Bill was a close and very respected friend for as long as I can remember. To me personally he was a mentor. I always valued his opinion and guidance.”

Mike Haymonds, 16 November 2016

 

pdfUpdate: The funeral will take place on 30 November 2016 at the Chilterns Crematorium, Whielden Lane, Amersham HP7 0ND at 5:15pm.The crematorium is on the north side of Whielden Lane (A404), Amersham HP7 0ND. www.chilternscrematorium.co.uk

After the service those attending are invited to join Bill’s son Peter and family members at The Plough Inn, The Hill, Winchmore Hill, Amersham HP7 0PA (01495 259757). For the Plough Inn turn right out of the Crematorium and proceed a short distance down the A404 before turning left into Winchmore Hill Village.

It will be helpful, in making catering arrangements, if those intending to go on to the Plough Inn would notify This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Flowers: family only; donations to the Alzheimer’s Society.

For queries please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Maurice has penned his own obituary for Bill which is downloadable by clicking the PDF icon to the right.

Subcategories

Obituaries: An Introduction

This features page contains obituaries, previously appearing in the News section of the website, of persons who have made a significant contribution to hockey’s history. They are all people who have been in the forefront of innovation in the sport. This section of the website is the go-to location to...

Barbara West, 1913-2014

Barbara West, 1913-2014

It is with great sadness that The Hockey Museum (THM) reports the death of Barbara West, who died last month aged 100. Born on 9 November 1913, she died five days short of 101st birthday. Known to all as ‘Bar’, she was an outstanding servant of women’s hockey for over...

Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, 1939-2017

Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, 1939-2017

I was very saddened by the recent announcement of the death of Rachael Heyhoe Flint. Having listened to the many tributes on the TV and radio and read the extensive newspaper coverage on front, media, sports and obituaries pages, you could be in no doubt that Rachael was not only...

Bill Colwill OBE, 1930-2016

Bill Colwill OBE, 1930-2016

Bill Colwill (right) receives the Doug Gardner Award in 2007.   Bill Colwill OBE, 15 October 1930–13 November 2016 Tributes from the hockey family around the world have poured in following the death of Bill Colwill, aged 86, at the weekend. In a hockey career spanning over six decades Bill...

Christopher Todd, 1946-2018

Christopher Todd, 1946-2018

Christopher Todd. Image provided to THM by Christoper Todd prior to his passing. 05.05.1946 – 16.08.2018 It is with great sadness that we have to let you know that Christopher Todd died this morning, Thursday 16 August, with his family at his side. Chris umpired his first international hockey match...

Etienne Glichitch, 1926-2016

It is with great sadness that the International Hockey Federation learned of the death of Etienne Glichitch at the age of 90 years. The Frenchman was the Honorary Secretary of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) from 1966 until 1984, when he became President, a post which he held until 1996....

Gerald Wilkinson, 1934-2017

"Chasing tomorrow’s horizons with yesterday’s legs”   Gerald Wilkinson, 01.09.1934-17.04.2017 The Hockey Museum is saddened to report the passing of Gerald Wilkinson, an English pioneer of Masters and Grand Masters hockey, aged 82, after a year-long battle with leukaemia and motor neurone disease. A chartered surveyor, his hockey career spanned...

Graham Wilson, 1952-2016

Graham Wilson, 1952-2016

Graham Wilson (photo credit, Dil Bahra) It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Graham Wilson on Saturday 20 February. Graham, the Chairman of the Hockey Writers' Club, had a life-long involvement in hockey as journalist, player (for Havering HC), supporter and father of two hockey playing children....

Jan ‘JB’ Brittin, 1959-2017

Jan ‘JB’ Brittin, 1959-2017

Jan Britten (red) in the European Clubs Championship in Frankfurt, 1990.Image courtesy of Katie Dodd. The Hockey Museum was saddened by the news of the untimely death of Janette Britten, known to everyone as JB. The media has understandably had extensive coverage of her cricketing achievements but for many in...

John Cranwell, 1936-2014

John Cranwell, a former Chairman of the Great Britain Hockey Board and past president of the Welsh Hockey Association, has died at the age of 78. He served on the Great Britain Hockey Board during its challenging times in the 1980s which culminated in Olympic gold in 1988. He was very involved...

Liz Chase, 1950-2018

Liz Chase, 1950-2018

The Hockey Museum is saddened to hear of the death of Liz Chase, a member of the Zimbabwean women's hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The Zimbabwe team, nicknamed the 'Golden Girls', only knew they were competing thirty-five days before the start of the...

Lt Commander Alan Walker RN, 1943-2017

Lt Commander Alan Walker RN, 1943-2017

Lt Commander Alan Walker RN receiving a painting of HMS Victory at the time of the Royal Navy centenary.   Although we knew Alan was very ill, his death on the 17 February came with great sadness to all his friends at The Hockey Museum and throughout the hockey world....

Melvyn Pignon née Hickey, 1930-2016

Melvyn Pignon née Hickey, 1930-2016

Melvyn Pignon who has died at the age of 86 was possibly the best known woman hockey player of her generation. She first played at Kidderminster High School in Worcestershire and went on to train as a PE teacher at Lady Mabel College of Physical Education, beginning her teaching career...

Nancy Tomkins, 1914-2012

09.10.1914 – 30.12.2012 Nancy Tomkins, in her heyday a well known and respected hockey correspondent for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the magazine Hockey Field for many years, died at the age of 98. She had a stroke just before Christmas 2012, rallied, but passed away on 30 December....

Peter Savage, 1947-2017

Peter Savage, 1947-2017

It is with great sadness that The Hockey Museum records the untimely death of one of its greatest supporters and friends. Peter has given so much to hockey and he had hoped to do so much more. He accepted the inevitability of his illness with amazing bravery and even humour....

Robin Forbes Willmott DL, 1926 -2017

Robin Forbes Willmott DL, 1926 -2017

  Robin Willmott   Obituary Over the years, Southgate Hockey Club has had a number of very dedicated members, who have helped to make Southgate Hockey Club the great club that it is today. Robin Willmott was one of them. Robin joined the club in 1948 after National Service in...

Roger Self OBE, 1939-2017

Roger Self OBE, 1939-2017

Roger Self OBE with THM's Evelyn Somerville at Champions Trophy 2016.   Roger Self OBE, who led Britain's men's team to Olympic gold in 1988, died at home on Monday 5 June. He had been suffering from inclusion body myositis for the last 12 years. He was 77. His wife...

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