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Slough HC Manager Ian Mitchell with the European Club Championship trophy 1980     Slough HC c1965
     

Left: Slough HC Manager Ian Mitchell with the European Club Championship trophy in 1980.
Right: Slough HC First XI c.1965. Captain Ian Mitchell is standing third from the left.

 

13.07.1931-19.07.2022

Ian Mitchell died on 20 July 2022 at the age of 91. He was born in Redcar, Yorkshire in 1931. His early sporting interests were in swimming and rugby but due to injury he switched to hockey when at Newcastle University, where he played in the university team. He qualified as a Civil Engineer and became a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. After a short spell of working for British Rail he joined the Central London Polytechnic (now University of Westminster) as a lecturer. He remained there for the rest of his working life. In retirement, apart from a continuing interest in Slough HC, he travelled the world extensively.

Ian joined Slough HC in the early 1950s and played in the First XI for some 20 years. He was captain from 1960 to 1967. He also captained, and later managed, Buckinghamshire. Both Ian and his wife Angela captained the county side at the same time. Both of their children Neil and Jenny played hockey for Slough, with Jenny playing at the top level of the sport. From his early days until 2016 Ian was an active committee member at Slough, serving two spells as Club Chairman.

 

Slough HC men fixture cards 1970s 1980s
 
Slough Hockey Club men's fixture cards, 1970s & 1980s.

 

He retired from playing top level hockey in 1975 to devote time to managing the Slough First XI, who were then becoming a power in English hockey at both outdoor and indoor level. The first great success was winning the London Hockey League in 1976. Slough then became National Champions in 1977. From 1975 for the best part of the next 20 years, Ian managed the team to winning every championship available to them, as detailed below.

National Club Champions 1977, 1979, 1980 & 1981
European Club Champions 1980
National Indoor Club Champions 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982 & 1983
London League Champions 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985 & 1987
National Inter League Champions 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982 & 1983
Glenfiddich International Indoor Cup 1982 – Zwolle European Indoor Cup 1981
English County Champions - Buckinghamshire 1980 & 1982

 

Slough HC squad winners of the National Club Championship 1979      Slough HC team with the European Club Championship trophy 1980
     
Left: Slough HC, winners of the National Club Championship in 1979. Manager Ian Mitchell standing arms folded, far right.
Right: The Slough HC team with the European Club Championship trophy in 1980. Ian Mitchell furthest right.

 

Funeral Arrangements

Ian MItchell’s funeral will take place at 13:00 on 31 August at Slough Crematorium. If you wish to watch the service remotely details are below. If you knew Ian and would like to pay your respects, you are very welcome to attend both the funeral and the wake which will be held back at Slough Hockey Club.

Https://watch.obitus.com
Username: sazi9487
Password: 637608

A further obituary of Ian Mitchell is available on the Slough Hockey Club website: Obituary: Ian Mitchell, 1931-2022 (sloughhockeyclub.co.uk)

A Career Forged in an Era of Flux


Varinder Singh

 

16.05.1947 – 28.06.2022

By Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

 

World hockey lost another link to its rich past when Indian Olympian Varinder Singh died on 28 June 2022. He was 75. Varinder Singh’s international career spanned the 1970s, a decade that witnessed seismic changes in the world game and fluctuating fortunes for India.

His death from a heart ailment at a private hospital in Jalandhar, Punjab came forty-seven years after his crowning moment with the national team, India’s only World Cup triumph in Kuala Lumpur in March 1975. A year later, in Montreal, India returned from the Olympic Games without a medal for the first time as the traditional powerhouses of hockey struggled on the artificial surface to which the sport had shifted in the interim. Varinder Singh, at right half, was an integral part of both the 1975 and 1976 campaigns. He also played in the teams that won a bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, lost the 1973 World Cup final to the Netherlands in Marbella, Spain and won silver medals at the 1974 and 1978 Asian Games.

Gurbux Singh, who won the Olympic gold in Tokyo in 1964 and a bronze in Mexico City in 1968, was the coach of the national team in Montreal and saw Varinder Singh at close quarters. Despite the team’s failure to win a medal, Varinder Singh’s game impressed Gurbux Singh. "He was calm, quiet and a compact player. He was very intelligent. In his younger days, Varinder played as a forward and that made him a very attacking right half. During my time as coach, I would encourage him to switch places with inside right Ashok Kumar when the latter was being body checked by opposing defenders," Gurbux Singh told The Hockey Museum (THM).

Ashok Kumar, son to Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand, revealed to THM that the tactics, in fact, had been first used during the World Cup in 1975. It was forged by a group of players – Varinder Singh, Ashok Kumar, right out V J Philips and left back Surjit Singh – before a crucial league match against Olympic champions West Germany to decide the pool leaders. The idea was for Surjit to take his 16-yard hit and strike the ball across the field to where the inside right would usually be, Ashok Kumar recalled. "I knew I would be marked, so the plan was that I would track back to our own half while Varinder would move into the space thus created and intercept the pass and then try to feed the other forwards. It worked only because Varinder had the experience of playing as a forward and possessed a good turn of speed and excellent ball control". Varinder Singh’s attacking game set up goalscoring opportunities and India won the match 3-1, topped Pool B and set up a semi-final against hosts Malaysia.

 

Made in (Independent) India

Varinder Singh, Ashok Kumar and their contemporaries were raised after the Subcontinent gained independence from British rule but was also partitioned into India and Pakistan. Gurbux Singh was a member of the preceding generation that bridged the gap between them and independent India’s first hockey heroes, who learnt the game during colonial times. Having played with and against those who routinely won the Olympic gold from 1948 to 1956 and also their successors who had the unenviable task of trying to replicate the success in the face of myriad challenges, Gurbux Singh enjoys a unique vantage point regarding the history of the game in the Subcontinent and knows a good player when he sees one. Varinder Singh impressed him just as much. "He was soft-spoken, very gentle," Gurbux Singh said of his fellow Sikh, a religious minority in India who have contributed immensely to the development of hockey in the Subcontinent.

Varinder Singh was born in the village of Dhanowali near Jalandhar on 16 May 1947, mere months before the end of colonial rule. Punjab had long been the cradle of hockey in the region and Varinder Singh evidently picked up the game at a young age. Ajit Pal Singh, the captain of the 1975 World Cup team and Varinder Singh’s regular roommate during their time in the national team, remembered coming up against the latter in inter-school tournaments. "We also went together to the Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar," Ajit Pal Singh told the Hindustan Times newspaper after Varinder Singh’s death.

Despite the early start, it took Varinder Singh time to break into the national team. "Compared to the rest of his teammates in Munich [Olympic Games 1972], Varinder was a late-bloomer, coming into the Indian side when he was 26 while most of the others were in their early 20s and already had international experience," K Arumugam writes in Profiles of Indian Hockey Olympians.1 "However, he lost no time in making up for the lost time and since his debut, was rarely left out of the Indian squad till he quit playing [after the 1980 pre-Olympics]."

The 1970s saw the continuation of India’s rivalry with Pakistan. Two countries joined at birth and drawing on the same colonial legacy fought to carve out their separate identities. Pakistan had the better of the decade, winning the inaugural World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 and the fourth edition in Buenos Aires in 1978 as well as gold medals in the Asian Games in 1970, 1974 and 1978. Varinder was part of the India teams that lost to Pakistan in the last two of those finals.

 

The beginning of the end

However, the world order changed decisively in 1976, following hockey’s shift from grass to artificial turf. Not just India and Pakistan, but some of the other traditionally strong teams like the Netherlands and West Germany also struggled to adapt in Montreal, Gurbux Singh recalled. "You must remember, there was not even a patch of Astroturf in India at the time. The first time the team got to play on an artificial surface was in France at a pre-Olympics tournament," Gurbux Singh recalled. A "topsy turvy" Olympic Games was finally won by New Zealand (the country’s only ever medal in Olympic men’s hockey) as India finished seventh. The fact that Varinder Singh continued to play for the national team for four more years, however, was testament to his adaptability and tenacity.

Since 1976, India’s only Olympic medals have been a gold at the largely boycotted Moscow Games in 1980 and, after a 41-year wait, a bronze in Tokyo last year. They have never won the World Cup again.

Varinder Singh was an officer in the Northern Railways. He played for his employers as well as the combined Indian Railways team in the domestic circuit. After his retirement from the railways, he took up a job with the Punjab Sports Department. As decorated hockey players from India’s golden generations, Gurbux Singh and Varinder Singh would often cross paths. "I sometimes met him in Jalandhar, where he was looking after the youngsters," Gurbux Singh said. They were also Facebook friends, and more recently kept in touch with each other over the social media platform.

The Indian government honoured Varinder Singh with the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games in 2007.

Varinder Singh is survived by wife Manjit Kaur and sons Gurpreet Singh and Harpreet Singh.

 

Varinder Singh, hockey Olympian, World Cup winner, administrator; born 16 May 1947; died 28 June 2022.

 


1 K Arumugam, Profiles of India’s Hockey Olympians (New Delhi: Field Hockey Publications, 2012), 160.

John Peake 01

 

26.08.1924 – 30.03.2022

“A Legend has left us” is certainly true of John Peake who died in March at the age of 97. He was the oldest living British Olympic medallist, having won a hockey silver medal at the 1948 London Olympic Games. In 2012, John was a celebrity guest at the London Games creating an Olympic bridge that spanned 64 years, and he was one of the Olympic torch bearers, too.

One of John’s proudest boasts was that his 1948 Olympic blazer still fitted him! He commented that he had purchased his own blazer as the only ‘freebies’ that the 1948 team were given were two pairs of Y-Fronts and some Brylcreem! He also recalled that the hockey pitch at Wembley Stadium created very challenging conditions. This was because the shot putt from the earlier athletics events had left divots all over the grass pitch. John’s memory and wit were sharp until the end.

 

John Peake 02
 
John Peake receives his GB honours cap from Gayane Selimyan,
Manager of his care home, in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Sporting Prowess

John was born in Cambridge where he first played hockey and won a scholarship to Repton School in 1938. There his sporting prowess blossomed, including three years in the cricket 1st XI. It was then back to Cambridge University where he won blues for hockey, tennis and squash. It was at Cambridge that he met his wife-to-be Elizabeth. She was similarly skilled in the same sports, also winning blues. They were to spend 65 years of happy marriage before Elizabeth died.

There have been excellent obituaries of John in the Times and the Telegraph, but here we hope to give you a little more detail about John’s involvement in hockey and sport, much of it gleaned from the splendid eulogy delivered by his son Christopher at John’s funeral. The event was a fitting tribute to his long and varied life.

John was a multi-talented sportsman and as well as cricket and hockey he achieved high honours in both tennis and squash. In hockey, as well as representing Great Britain he played for England, Kent, The Royal Navy and the Combined Services. Such achievements are not really possible in today’s sporting world.

John retained a strong level of personal fitness even into his 90s. In May 2019 he completed the Westminster Mile and was greeted by a hockey stick guard of honour at the finish line (pictured).

 

John Peake Westminster Mile 26052019

 

Military and Civilian Career

John finished at Cambridge University during the Second World War and joined the Royal Navy in the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors. Apart from wide ranging work experience it gave him time to play sport, a period that took in the 1948 London Olympic Games. In 1950 John left the Royal Navy and having suffered a slipped disc his hockey days were over. He went on to have a very successful and distinguished business career, rising to Chairman of Baker Perkins (a British engineering company for food processing equipment). His 36 years culminated with being awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to industry in 1986.

 

John Peake and The Hockey Museum

John never lost his love of hockey and shortly after The Hockey Museum (THM) found a home in Woking, he contacted us to ascertain what was going on! There followed a decade of interest and involvement by John, though initially we had no idea what a hockey legend he was.

Another legend of the London 1948 era was Balbir Singh Senior. Balbir was also a great friend of THM and visited us several times, often commenting on how sad it was that India did not have a similar museum. On one of these occasions, we set up a meeting between John and Balbir, recorded by an ITV film crew. It was an amazing piece of sporting history. The two men had not met since they played in the Olympic hockey final in 1948, yet it was like they were old and close friends. The respect that they showed each other was palpable.

 

Balbir Singh Snr and John Peake
 

John Peake and Balbir Singh Senior at The Hockey Museum in 2012.

Photograph: Dil Bahra.

 

John was always honoured to attend THM events but really it was us who were honoured. Another wonderful occasion took place in 2019 when THM set up a further great hockey meeting. This time John met with Tony Nunn, a hockey Olympic bronze medallist from the 1952 Olympic Games. Although John had finished playing by 1952, they were contemporaries and friends. Tony had attended John’s wedding in 1951. The story has a pleasing twist here in that although we are deeply saddened to lose a legend like John Peake, his mantle of being the oldest surviving Great Britain Olympic medallist has passed to Tony. So, hockey retains the honour of possessing the oldest living GB medallist.

 

John Peake and Tony Nunn 02
 
Tony Nunn and John Peake during their joing visit to The Hockey Museum in 2019.

 

Oral Histories

We shall soon be able to offer you John Peake's oral history interviews on our website, though they are not currently available online. Transcripts can be made available to researchers. If you think you have the time and technical skills to help us achieve more oral history recordings online sooner, please get in touch. Meantime, please do listen to our already published oral histories and read the obituaries of hockey greats elsewhere on our site.

Contact Us | hockeymuseum.net

Oral Histories | hockeymuseum.net

Obituaries | hockeymuseum.net

Ken Wilson

 

1956 – 21.05.2022

Ken Wilson passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday 21 May 2022 after a short fight with Lymphoma; he was 65. Ken’s family – his wife Kaye and children Hannah and James – meant everything to him. Ken was married to Kaye for 36 years after being a customer at the bank where she worked.

Ken was an avid sports fan and season ticket holder for his beloved Watford Football Club. He passed on his passion for sport to his children James and Hannah. They attended many sporting events with Ken, including the London Olympic Games, the Wimbledon tennis championships, summer athletics, hockey matches and Watford FC games.

Ken worked for the BBC for over 30 years, working his way up to the position of Senior Sports Producer for the World Service. During this time, Ken thrived as a multi-sports journalist and programme producer, covering a range of sports tournaments abroad. It was through his work that his engagement with the ‘hockey family’ began and Ken joined the Hockey Writers’ Club around 1997.

Ken’s career saw him cover three Olympic Games, football World Cups and Wimbledon before leaving the BBC in 2011 when the broadcaster moved to Salford, Greater Manchester. Ken was Media Manager at the Riverbank Hockey Arena for the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as Broadcast Information Officer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Always smiling, Ken had been described as "one of the loveliest and kindest people" you could know, and his expertise was highly valued. He drew on his vast knowledge and experience from large sporting events to give his time freely in numerous volunteer and charity positions.

Within hockey Ken became a prominent figure, firstly at the National Hockey Stadium at Milton Keynes and then later at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre as a leading ‘Hockey Maker’. Ken joined the Hockey Writers' Club committee in 2015, becoming Secretary in 2016 – a post he held until his recent passing.

Away from hockey, Ken volunteered for the physically impaired sports organisation WheelPower based at Stoke Mandeville, and at DCFL, an educational charity teaching IT skill.

Ken brought light into the lives of so many people across multiple generations. He made a point of always helping anyone with whatever he could, never second-guessing his decisions. He will be missed by all who knew him.

 

Copy credit to the Hockey Writers’ Club with elaboration by The Hockey Museum.
With thanks to Mike Haymonds.

1958 Eng v Scot Wembley Biddy Birgum Jean Calder
 
Jean Calder (right) tackling Biddy Burgum during the England vs Scotland match at Wembley Stadium in 1958.

 

10.03.1929 – 07.03.2022

Scottish international hockey player and Scottish Women’s Hockey Association past President.

Even compared to those of the modern jet set, Jean Calder was an incredibly well-travelled person. Although many of these early journeys were by sea rather than by air. Much of this was as a player, umpire or official of the Scottish Women’s Hockey Association (SWHA). We of the hockey world join in the sadness of her family, her golf and bridge friends and her neighbours on learning of her recent death, aged 92, following six months of two falls, hospitalisation and care, but always with the hope of a return home, until sadly succumbing to Covid.

Born in Edinburgh in 1929, schooled at George Watsons, she naturally played for Women Watsonians, then East District. Jean played as a forward before switching to left back in the Scottish team in 1957. There she played continuously, latterly as Vice-Captain, until deciding to retire from representative hockey on her appointment as Principal Lecturer in Physical Education at the newly established Callendar Park College of Education in Falkirk in 1964. After the threat of college closures, she accepted redundancy in 1978 and turned her attention again to the SWHA.

 

Scotland women team photo
 
The Scotland women's team (early 1960s). Jean Calder is seated second from the right.

 

As well as the annual Home Countries fixtures, Jean had toured in Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, the USA and Canada, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and Kenya, including the four-yearly International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) Tournaments in Sydney (Australia), Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Baltimore (USA).

Turning to administration, Jean became President of the SWHA in 1974 and during her three-year term of office was hostess to the IFWHA Conference and Tournament in Edinburgh in 1975. This two-week event must be a highlight in our history for all involved. In 1977 she was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Silver Medal in recognition of this undertaking.

The organisation of Scottish Hockey had always been in the hands of unpaid volunteers, with the papers and records (no cups or trophies allowed in those days) passing to the cupboards or under the bed of each incoming President. It was decided in the early 1980s by the Scottish Hockey Association (SHA – men) and the SWHA each to appoint a paid secretary. We rented adjoining offices in Ainslie Place in Edinburgh. The posts were advertised, Jean applied for the SWHA position and was duly appointed. Who could have done better? Who else knew as much about Scottish Hockey? She set to, gathered our records, sorted and categorised and provided the centre of communication (all in the days before computers). The next step was to be amalgamation with the men. The SHA and the SWHA amalgamated in 1989 to become the Scottish Hockey Union.

In 2000 Jean, along with Ernie Wall, Eileen Hyndman and Evlyn Raistrick of the Book Committee, produced 100 Years of Scottish Hockey – a testament to Scottish Hockey, so much of which Jean had been part of.

On retirement Jean enjoyed more travel – to Kathmandu and trekking in the Himalayas to celebrate her 60th birthday, several round-the-world trips and visits to many European countries as well as enjoying many different parts of Britain. Many of these travels were with friends, but latterly she enjoyed cruises with her older sister, Dr Anne Scott, who died in May 2021. In 1995 Jean returned to South Africa as a Great Britain hockey supporter when South Africa, in their first event after apartheid, hosted the Olympic Qualifier. She also played golf (at Liberton Golf Club) and bridge and kept fit walking her various dogs. Jean was able and independent right up until six months before her death.

Jean remained single, but in 1965 became guardian to her eight-year-old niece Patricia, who was sent to boarding school in Edinburgh while her parents worked in Pakistan. She always thought of Jean as her second Mum and her two sons, Robert and David, were also close to their Great Aunt. They will miss her very much, as will her many friends and neighbours and the congregation of Marchmont St Giles’ Parish Church of Scotland of which she was a member for many years.
While mourning the loss of a good friend, we celebrate her long and well-lived life.

 

Jennifer Munro, Scottish international player.
Evlyn Raistrick, Scottish and International Hockey Federation (FIH) Umpire.

 

Eng vs Scotland at The Oval 1950 Marie Weir scoring a goal Scotland lost 2 6
 
Marie Weir scoring against England at The Oval cricket ground in 1950. Scotland lost 6-2.

 

03.06.1926 – 27.02.2022

Dr Marie Weir (nee Jaffrey Smith) was a Scottish international hockey player in the late 1940s/early 1950s. She won a bronze medal at the post-war festival of women’s hockey in 1948 in Amsterdam. Marie gained more than 20 Scottish caps and played at Wembley Stadium.

She was appointed as National Coach to the Scottish women’s teams in 1971, at a time when Scottish hockey was graced by arguably the most talented group of players ever to represent the Scottish Women’s Hockey Association (SWHA).

Marie was one of Scotland’s most charismatic and inspirational hockey coaches. Her forward- thinking approach changed women’s hockey in Scotland for ever and resulted in ‘The Dream Team’ beating England at Wembley (2-1), on 11 March 1972 – a feat that had not been achieved in over thirty-nine years. The team went on to secure the ‘Triple Crown’.

What a breath of fresh air Marie was! Her ideas on diet, fitness, technique, tactics, team management and knowing the ‘whole person’, not only the hockey player, were all part of a totally new approach to the game. Meeting with football managers and studying their methods brought more knowledge about transitional play from defence to attack to produce a more fluid game. She worked tirelessly to introduce coaching programmes involving technical skills and tactical awareness, as well as involving the coach in team selection which made so much sense. She worked with the players week in, week out and knew better than anyone their strengths and weaknesses.

When Marie became involved in the early 1970s, the selection process was outdated and inappropriate for the modern game. It was a constant battle for her to progress to a squad system where the coach would select the team, as opposed to the selectors choosing a team and two reserves. She developed the game from the traditional formation to the possibilities of adaptable formations.

Marie Weir coaching Scottish schoolgirlsMarie was extremely competitive, and her ‘friendly authoritarian’ style of coaching was unique as she shared her knowledge and infectious enthusiasm in abundance. “YOU CAN AND YOU WILL” were words often repeated, and not to be ignored.

Marie gained insight into other aspects of the players’ lives. We had talented artists, musicians, mothers, and young players who were blended into a formidable unit in 1972, because she knew their families and she knew them as rounded individuals. Equally, the players who were initially coached by Marie were invited to her home in Dunfermline to share Marie’s other love, her family. Her beloved husband, Douglas, and five children all shared the highs and lows of Scottish women’s hockey and provided invaluable support throughout her coaching journey.

Marie was a woman on a mission, and I [Rae Nicholson] was fortunate and honoured to be on that mission with her. Becoming captain of the Scottish team after Wembley, I worked closely with Marie and could not have asked for a more supportive, inspiring coach. She gave so willingly of herself and was always at the end of the phone, not only for me but for any of the players who needed her.

A brief visit to the USA to coach youth players and then being invited to coach the Scottish Schoolgirls in the late 1970s (pictured) allowed Marie to lay the foundations for her progressive developmental approach from ‘nursery’ to the Scotland squad.

Not only was her time dedicated to coaching hockey, but she also wrote a comments column in The Scotsman newspaper on Scottish women’s hockey for ten years, (1960s-1970s), and published two very informative books on hockey coaching in the mid-1970s.

Another talent of a very gifted lady.

 

Rae Nicholson, Scotland captain 1973-76.

 

Other Obituaries

Read Marie Weir's obituary in The Scotsman: Dr Marie Weir obituary | The Scotsman

Alan Jackson 2       Alan Jackson 1
     
Alan Jackson's Loughborough
University entrance photograph, 1960.
  Trojans HC win the National League
play-offs in 1990.

 

12.06.1939 – 20.02.2022

Alan was born in Southampton on 12 June 1939 to parents James and Vera Jackson. He had an elder brother Peter who was 6 years older.

Alan resided in Southampton for a short while before being evacuated in 1939 with his mother to Blackpool to live with an auntie until they returned in 1945. He spent time in a couple of local schools until 1953 when he was moved to the Royal Masonic School in Bushey Park. It was here that he flourished and found his love of sports, frequently being recounted as one of the most talented allrounders the school had produced. Alan’s primary sport was rugby and late in his teens he made the choice to pursue a career in hockey – his pragmatic analysis was that hockey had fewer injuries and therefore would provide some longevity!

He completed his teacher training degree at Loughborough University between 1960 and 1963, and then spent four years teaching at King Edward VI School in Southampton where he specialised in Games, Geography and Drama. During his time living back in Southampton Alan played for Trojans Hockey Club and was an instrumental player in their 1st XI. This led to him being selected to play in the Great Britain tour of Australia in the summer of 1966 where he was part of a very successful team, managed by the knowledgeable and well-respected LSE ‘Jonah’ Jones and captained by the enigmatic David Prosser who sadly passed away in January 2021.

After his years of teaching Alan returned to his studies and completed both parts of his diploma in Management Studies as well as an MSc in Recreation Management. A job opportunity in Manchester in 1974 saw the family move to Bramhall and Alan then played for a spell with Alderley Edge Hockey Club.

Having been frustrated with working under the confines of a local council, Alan purchased a hotel in the Polygon, Southampton in 1977 and the family, now including 3 children Claire, Graham and Christopher, moved back to Southampton shortly after. Alan and his wife Wendy ran the hotel very successfully for many years. Later, Alan purchased two large Victorian houses on the edge of Southampton and created the ‘Pimms’ and ‘Hollies’ Hotel Apartments. Both ran very successfully until his retirement in 1999.

Alan spent his remaining years overlooking the sea in Hill Head, Fareham where his son Graham and wife Wendy still reside.

 

Coaching at Tojans Hockey Club

Alan had a big impact as a hockey player. His representing Great Britain in 1966 was a mark of his talent and the dedication and passion he had for the sport. He contributed a great deal to Trojans in the 1960s and 1970s as a player, but his contribution to coaching hockey could be viewed as even more impactful. In the late 1980s he took over as first team coach at Trojans to bring the club back into the highest league in the country. At the time the first National League was being formed and Alan saw a place for Trojans in it. He was always an incredibly creative thinker and wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and push things forward. He was one of the first coaches to extensively use video analysis of both the Trojans team and, frequently from a covert location, their future opposition! He used instant playback analysis of short corners and walkie talkies to communicate, as well as being one of the first coaches in the country to utilise his Australian connections to head hunt specific international players and employ them to play for the club. In latter years sports psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and even an infamous athletics sprint coach formed a normal part of team life. Pre-season tournaments at the Racing Club de France and other more local teams helped build the team spirit needed to win. Trojans were frequently the underdogs, and yet his coaching presence and approach allowed the team to achieve far beyond what the ‘on paper’ comparisons to their opposition might predict. This approach saw a mighty rise for Trojans who, in the space of three short years gained promotion to and through the National League and into the top division. Alan worked closely with David Whittle as part of the England coaching set-up travelling the country and reporting back on potential talent. Indeed, at one point before this Alan was lined up as Great Britain Assistant Coach, but this was sadly curtailed as the family were involved in a serious car crash meaning he was unable to make the commitment.

Alan was a fantastic player, an inspirational coach and was devoted to his wife and children. He was a man of few words, but the thought and relevance of what was said was (nearly!) always worth listening to. His passing is a not only huge loss to his immediate and extended family, but also to a long list of teammates and players, both in the UK and abroad, who had the privilege of his thoughtful and creative guidance.

 

Chris Jackson, March 2022

Mike Ward

 

09.12.1942 – 14.02.2022

Hockey goalkeeper, umpire, umpire developer, administrator extraordinaire, strong amateur tennis player, renowned public speaker, battlefield historian, great friend to many and lastly, but not least, a quiz star!

Mike Ward: Yes, he preferred to be known by his middle name, was a war baby born in December 1942. He was a lifelong lover of the county of Dorset, first attending the local prep school ‘The Birches’ in Blandford and then onto the newly opened Castle Court School in Wimborne where he became head boy. He progressed to senior school away at Monkton Combe near Bath where, yet again, he became head boy. That role theme clearly defined his next 60 years. In virtually every activity he was ever involved, particularly administratively, he soon became the lead or the chairman! Amongst his school alumni are his 2 younger brothers: Peter (Colonel in the Royal Marines) and the late Timothy (a notable actuary), and amongst many others in his actual school year: Sir Richard Stilgoe and Tony Blackburn - both from the world of entertainment.

It was at Monkton that he probably first encountered field hockey and from day one played in goal. It is likely he was seen as an able sportsman with no previous hockey skills from his prep school days and thus put into goal! Hockey certainly was not his main sport at the time, as he was a very accomplished young tennis player and that skill was reflected in his choice of university: Oxford or Cambridge? He chose Cambridge after he reviewed where he felt it would best suit his tennis skills!

He went to Downing College and teamed up with Mark Cox who was in the same academic year and College. Together they both won blues for tennis, although strictly speaking it was only classed as a half blue, being a mere minor sport! Having gained their respective degrees Mike went on to practise law by profession, while Mark went on to be a professional tennis player!

 

Mike Ward Bournemouth HC Nottingham International Festival 1970
 
Mike Ward (goalkeeper) with the Bournemouth Hockey Club team who beat European Club
Champions C D Terrasa during the Nottingham International Festival of 1970.

 

Mike played his adult sport in Bournemouth, performing in goal for Bournemouth hockey 1st XI at the delightful Kinson Park ground in winter and playing tennis at the East Dorset Tennis Club in the summer. He played hockey for Hampshire in goal and for Dorset in both sports, in the era when playing for one’s county was an outstanding honour for any sportsperson. He also dabbled in playing some real tennis and squash, but the latter was limited as a childhood heart condition could not match his racquet skills enough to play too much. He was spotted in goal once (in a non league match) sitting on the back board, smoking his pipe and reading a newspaper. Clearly, his goalkeeping skills were not needed too much that day! When he did progress later to wearing a flimsy face mask, a pipe could often be seen poking through.

Even in his early active adult playing days, Mike was soon involved in hockey administration. He was a founder member of the then rebel, South Men’s Hockey League which started in season 1972/73 with several county divisions of up to 10 teams across the 8 South Region Counties – all playing each other once. Havant HC just piped Bournemouth HC in the Hampshire Division 1 title that season, but only on goal difference! To have so many teams involved in the inaugural season was in itself no mean feat and tribute to Mike and his fellow committee members. The South League went from strength to strength, quickly attaining the largest number of league teams in the country with eventually over 650 men’s teams involved. The league committee still stands with Mike (as chair!) through to its 50th year this season 21/22 and is working towards agreeing a fitting finale and then a likely dissolvement later in 2022.

In the mid-1970s he began his umpiring career whilst still playing some matches in goal and he soon progressed to umpire top matches which at the time was in the London League and top of the South League – equivalent of the current national premier division. That entailed substantial travel between London and Poole each time, to cover those games. He did umpire more locally as well, often making the trip to Weymouth and at the time of his 40th birthday, after the game there, he then possibly over indulged whilst visiting several pubs along Weymouth harbour.

His administrative portfolio increased along with his umpiring progression as his playing career slowly wound down. He continued to umpire at a good standard into his early 70s and then stepped down a little to start assessing and coaching umpires. By then he had had a pacemaker fitted and somehow he had the ability to adjust the device up, in order to follow the umpires and keep up with play!

He served both Hampshire and Dorset Hockey Associations in several capacities for both adults and juniors, from those early days right up to point of his passing. He initially joined the Southern Counties Hockey Association (SCHA) as the Hampshire representative. His attention to detail, decision making and listening skills also meant he was soon involved in helping out the lead body of hockey at the time, the England Hockey Association, becoming well known to fellow administrators across the country. For so many clubs he became the person to know and was available to resolve all sorts of issues with his knowledge of the game and particularly how best to manage disciplinary matters. He had a great rapport with every Hampshire based club and they all held him in great esteem. His annual top-up of such communication with those clubs was at the Hampshire Cup Finals Day event ‘Hampshire Day’, where it is hard to recall whether he ever missed one. This also meant he was fully booked every year, attending various club dinners and was usually asked to speak. His oratory skills were phenomenal as he appeared to have an endless supply of anecdotes, well supported by sporting and political jokes to fit any occasion. He was so good, it usually meant he was then asked to go again the following year.

In 1983 he travelled to New Zealand to the first ever hockey Golden Oldies international tournament, no doubt as an umpire. He was so enthralled with the concept he managed to convince the organisers to agree to Bournemouth acting as hosts which duly happened in 1989! A huge administrative task.

With national success in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and the emergence of artificial turf pitches, the game saw immerse change over the next 5-10 years. Hockey grew in popularity, clubs expanded and skill levels and the speed of the game changed dramatically becoming watchable to a much wider audience. Thus administration support was needed to match it. In the end the England Hockey Association struggled to cope financially and a new limited company, England Hockey (EH), emerged in 2003. The administrative changes were immense and Mike, in his SCHA chairman’s role, worked hard linking the new body to the grass roots he knew so well. He skilfully struck a balance between EH and South clubs regarding the pace of change. He was to be responsible for appointing the current UK Sport CEO Sally Munday, EH Development Director Rich Beer (and many others) all as young fledgling administrators on their career paths as the EH link person to the South Region. Such change was needed to introduce the English National League elite level of competition and to restructure the regional youth programmes into a more consistent national unit. This has taken several iterations in order to raise the all-round level of skill in the game and support the National teams at all levels.

The more recent far-reaching changes of the EH Governance review have taken things to another level, removing a lot of old historical anomalies across the country. Mike, like many, felt that the pace of change during the Covid-19 pandemic had been too quick and was happy to say so! Time will no doubt see many of the review’s overall aims to indeed be the right ones.

His passing came a bit earlier that he had planned as he wanted to ensure these new hockey structures were all working well and then give time to dissolve his long-standing committees and ensure he celebrated his 80th birthday in style. He did not quite make that but, there are plenty of his close friends who will no doubt ensure that he will be remembered on that day.

Finally, domestically outside the hockey world, Mike had a passion for quizzes and battlefield history. He was a major authority on both. He loved to attend his local pub quiz, usually weekly, with his close lifelong friends referred to amongst themselves, as ‘The Secret 7’. Its importance to him was such that committee meetings were always fitted around quiz nights, all scribbled into a minute paper diary that he carried around with him. In the mid-1990s, he even entered the TV quiz programme 15 to 1 winning several programmes in a row to be forwarded to the champions of champions to prove he was indeed no slouch when it came to general knowledge. He also had a passion for historical warfare facts. Mike was well read, with bookcases of related books to support him. He could actually quickly recall much of the detail from his head, frequently contacting newspapers and magazines when he spotted they had printed the wrong facts! He would top up his reading by going on European battlefield tours and again was happy to correct his guides where he felt their information was wrong or lacking.

Norman Hughes (former England hockey captain) summed him up as “a wise leader.” Those two words go very well together in connection with Mike. It was thus no surprise in 2018 that he received England Hockey’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his phenomenal contribution to the sport for close on 50 years.

From now on, the date February 14 will for many of us, not only relate to St Valentine’s Day, but also the day on which we lost a truly remarkable hockey icon.

 

By Richard Macer

Winchester HC
Hampshire HA
Hon. Secretary Southern Counties HA

With many thanks to those who assisted.

Val Robinson Gwyn OBE at Palace 1985
 
Val Robinson, shown here with husband Gwyn, was awarded
an OBE for services to hockey in 1985.

 

A Tribute to Val Robinson OBE:
International hockey star, club player, BBC Superstars winner, footballer, golfer, hockey coach and friend.

18.12.1941 – 12.02.2022

The hockey family will have been saddened this week by the news of Val Robinson’s death at the age of 80. Her many achievements are being extensively covered in the national press and on social media. Some of these tributes can be explored through the links at the end of this tribute. A very personal tribute to Val has also been written by Alison Baker, a pupil of Val’s at Stratton School, Biggleswade in the 1960s and then later an international teammate. This is attached in the document below.

At a time when women’s hockey had little coverage outside of the hockey-playing world, one name was still familiar to many households – that of Val Robinson. She was one of the stars of the annual England women’s international hockey match held at Wembley Stadium, which was televised most years in the 1960s and ‘70s. Later, Val was the winner of the 1979 and 1981 BBC Superstars events at the age of 40!

 

1973 Eng v Ireland Wembley Val Robinson     

1974 wembley val robinson

     
Val Robinson in action at Wembley Stadium vs Ireland in 1973 (left) and Netherlands in 1974 (right).

 

Val wasn’t always the most influential player on the pitch or the most effective – being tightly marked by the opposition became the norm for Val – but she was always the favourite of the schoolgirls and the decibel levels went up several notches whenever she received the ball. Why did people admire her so? Maybe they recognised a free spirit and ferocious courage within that slight frame? Maybe it was the skill of her mazey runs with the ball on the end of her stick on what was often a heavily rutted grass pitch?

Val’s international record is unique and her hockey career reads very impressively. She played in at least 149 England matches in the 21 years between 1963-84, scoring 47 goals. She also appeared in 21 matches for Great Britain (GB) between 1978 and 1981 scoring 8 goals. No other player has shown such longevity and consistency of performance. A number of the top modern-day players have certainly chalked up many more caps, but none have extended their careers anywhere near to 20 years. If England and GB had played the same number of games a year in the 1960s and ‘70s as they do now, it could be argued that Val would have accrued in the region of 400 caps which puts her on a parr with Kate Richardson-Walsh, who now holds the record for the most GB & England international appearances.

 

1966 England 1
 
Val Robinson in the England team of 1966, seated second in from the right.

 

Perhaps a hypothetical comparison, but Kate’s respect for Val’s legacy was clear in the tribute she gave upon hearing of Val’s death:

“With her ability in both hockey and football, today she would have been a professional sportswoman and it’s because of people like Val that I got to play hockey full-time at the end of my career. She was well known not just for her hockey ability but also for winning BBC Superstars twice which is no mean feat! We stand on her shoulders. What Val stood for and what she achieved as a sportswoman is an inspiration to me. Her name and her legacy will live on forever.”

 

Watch Val Robinson compete in BBC Superstars

https://youtu.be/g3Ojq82X_a8

 

Val began her international career at a time when selectors picked 11 players for specific positions, and there were no substitutes. There were no team coaches and no structured training programmes; the players had to buy or hire their kit. They travelled to games independently, often on public transport and matches were played on grass pitches, often not of an ideal quality. By the time she retired, the international game had changed beyond all recognition – all international teams had a coach and a manager; a squad of 16 was selected and matches were played on artificial pitches. There were physiotherapists, training weekends and fitness programmes along with sponsored kit, team coaches to travel to games and interviews with the media. How did Val view all these changes? Most she welcomed – such as the move to artificial pitches and more fluid team line-ups that suited her skilful and adventurous style. She did admit that while always being a very fit player, she never took to ‘training programmes’, never used any of the physiotherapists and was always wary of ‘officialdom’ and the media. Would she have thrived in the modern game – of course she would! She was a supreme athlete with a courageous spirit and a will to win. As all top strikers would tell you, they hate being substituted so rolling subs would have been a challenge to Val but she would still have relished that challenge.

 

1981 wembley banner
 

A banner flown during the England women's hockey match against Wales at
Wembley Stadium in 1981. It reads, "Val Robinson eats leeks for Breakfast".

 

What did Val’s teammates think of her? I have been reading so many tributes this week and what comes through is a mixture of the high standards of excellence that she set for herself, her courage in the face of the many ‘agricultural’ tackles that she was subjected to over the years, her humility and the fun of being in her company. Val was not a conventional leader; she never took to the captain’s role, but she was the centre of most teams she played for and her teammates loved her company and support.

Even after she retired from the top flight, Val continued to enjoy club hockey for Great Harewood Hockey Club for many years (now Blackburn Northern) and a number of us continued to enjoy playing with Val for Rambling Roses, a team for past England players. Rambling Roses were invited to play in many exhibition matches and travelled abroad to play in several tournaments. Without the pressure of the full international, these were great games – the comradery on the pitch and watching Val in action will be a lasting memory for us all. The last time we played was in an exhibition match in 2010 as part of the Women’s Champions Trophy at Nottingham – Val was nearly 70 and maybe couldn’t run around as fast as Jane Sixsmith but her class still shone through.

So many people felt they ‘knew’ Val and would tell stories of when they played with her, against her or simply watched her. Playing in a modern era she could have had a massive twitter following – except that she would have hated it. Essentially, she was a very private person who was happy in the company of her beloved husband Gwyn, her family and a few close friends. To hear Val speak about her career and her memories, you can listen to an interview conducted with her in June 2021 below.

So, to finish, we should all raise a glass (a half pint of bitter in honour of Val) and sing “And here’s to you Mrs Robinson”.

 

Enjoy The Hockey Museum's Interview With Val Robinson

https://youtu.be/9191JvGpEio

 

Katie Dodd
18 February 2022

Interview conducted 18 June 2021.

 

Other Tributes To Val Robinson

pdfA personal tribute from Alison Baker can be downloaded by clicking the PDF icon to the right (top icon). Alison was a pupil of Val’s at Stratton School, Biggleswade in the 1960s and then later an international teammate.

Click for England Hockey's tribute to Val Robinson.

Click for The Hockey Paper's tribute to Val Robinson.

Cick for The Guardian's tribute to Val Robinson.

pdfVal Robinson's obituary from The Telegraph is downloadable by clicking the PDF icon to the right (middle icon). Copyright: The Telegraph.

pdfVal Robinson's obituary from The Times is downloadable by clicking the PDF icon to the right (bottom icon). Copyright: The Times.

 

 

Ian Fitzgerald
 
Ian Fitzgerald with his wife Pauline.

 

This article was previously published in the Eastcote Hockey Club newsletter, edition no. 813, December 2021.


1930 – 10.12.2021
 

It is with great sadness and an immense sense of loss that Eastcote Hockey Club (EHC) of Ruislip, Middlesex, announces the passing of one of its greatest sons, Ian Fitzgerald. Ian represented the life and soul of the club for well over 50 years. He was 91.

At about 9pm on Friday 10 December while socialising with his wife Pauline and three generations of his family, Ian fell asleep in his chair at the home of one of his grandchildren and passed away peacefully without any indication to those around him of what had befallen him. They thought that he had just fallen asleep!
To say that Ian lived life to the full would be an understatement to all who knew him well. Even in his twilight years he was fully active at EHC, having been re-elected as the Club’s General Secretary for the forty-second time in September.

And in his ‘spare’ time Ian was equally industrious in the affairs of his local Church. Ian was a devout Catholic and he was not only devoted to the spiritual aspect of his faith but also helped, in practical terms, the local priest to conduct his many ecclesiastic functions during each week. Ian was a man of action even unto the very end of his life.

With respect to EHC, there were three spheres of influence that defined his value to the club.

In his younger days he played in the First XI. He was a deadly striker and seemed to find the goal from whatever angle from which he was shooting. He also played as an inside forward with the vision to snake passes through the defence to his forwards, who anticipated his passes and latched on to them with very little effort. In his day Eastcote were very fortunate in having several penalty corner specialists. Ian was one of them along with Wally Howe and Denzil Beale.

His membership of EHC did not rest in his capacity as a player. For over forty years he served the club as its General Secretary alongside Graham Pile as Chairman. The Club Secretary’s duties are managing the administration that enables the club and its members to function effectively, along with having close involvement in the general running of the club. This alone should have kept anyone extremely busy without much spare time for any other activities; but Ian somehow found time to take on the role of Bar Manager which entailed him placing the orders to keep the bar well stocked and even serving behind the bar himself regularly. He was also the club’s Maintenance Manager including keeping the bar equipment up to scratch.

Even then, Ian’s workload did not stop. The laying down of a new Astro pitch, the rapid increase of the number of men’s and women’s teams and the phenomenal enlargement of the colts section not only meant more administrative work for Ian, but he was also directly involved in playing hockey every week, coaching the youngsters every week, and helping to prepare the club premises for an increase in social events that inevitably followed the growth of the club. Ian was always one of the first helpers on the scene if the club hall needed decorating.

Lastly, in his later years, Ian took up serious umpiring. Even there he was involved, for many years, in the administration of the Middlesex Umpires Association. He appointed umpires for several games at the weekends and even regularly umpired himself. Ian got involved in the administration of university hockey umpiring by making himself available to umpire several mid-week games. One would think that there was not enough time for any one person to carry out so much work. Yet Ian was not just “any” person. He was extraordinary. He was determined to work on and on, and then work some more.
In addition to the above, Ian, along with Pauline, found time to raise four wonderful children. Susan, John, Mark, and Scott are a fine bunch of kids who are a tribute to both parents in their approach to life.

Ian was an Anglo Indian who was born and raised in Bangalore (as it was then called), India. He was sent by his parents to one of the best secondary schools in the Indian sub-continent. He was a product of the Raj and the school he attended was founded in 1856 by the Jesuit Fathers just one year before the Indian Mutiny in 1857. St Mary’s in Mumbai was a top private school and attracted the attention of many Anglo-Indian parents who had lofty ambitions for their children. Ian was a boarder there throughout his secondary school years, and though he went home each year for holidays, his character and principles were moulded by the Jesuit Fathers who figured prominently in his formative years. It could explain his dedication to his faith in the Church and his devotional work ethic.

Trevor Jones

 

17.05.1930 – 24.10 2021

It is sad to relate the passing of a great servant of our sport with the passing of Trevor Jones at the age of 91. Trevor was a true all-rounder within hockey having played outfield and in goal, becoming an umpire and involving himself in administration throughout. Trevor accomplished these things at all levels, including international.

Trevor’s early life saw him play rugby and football at school as well as during National Service in the RAF. He excelled at football, playing for several well-known Midlands’ clubs, including a trial for Notts County and he was a very useful club cricketer in the Birmingham area. However, it was not until his late 20s when working for Dunlop that he was introduced to hockey. Having been injured playing football but still able to run, Trevor was talked into playing outfield for one of Fort Dunlop Hockey Club’s lower elevens. Several of his work colleagues played hockey and the sports facilities at Fort Dunlop were second to none.

Having played cricket, tennis and golf he had no difficulty in hitting the ball, yet his greatest asset was his speed. He set himself a target of getting into the 1st XI within 12 games which he achieved on the twelfth game. The following season the 1st XI goalkeeper (GK) left for university and owing to his football experience Trevor was asked to play in goal. He prospered in this position and after a couple of seasons played for Warwickshire. At 6’2” he was very imposing as a GK, but county appearances were rare as the first choice Warwickshire keeper played for England and Great Britain.

Playing in goal provides an aware of everything going on before you. Trevor considered that the appointed umpires were of ’mixed ability’ and decided that he could do better than most. He saw umpiring as a different route to represent his country. In 1966 he joined the Birmingham Counties Hockey Umpires Association and in 1974 progressed to his first international appointment, Ireland vs Spain at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

In 1975, having umpired three full international matches, his name was put forward to the International Hockey Federation (FIH). Trevor received appointments for them and for the Hockey Association (HA) until 1980 when, at the age of 50, he had reached the compulsory retirement age. During his career Trevor umpired 20 international matches and many English county and club finals and championship games.

Having gained a lot from the game, Trevor always tried to put something back into hockey. He became Fort Dunlop HC. Honorary Secretary (Hon. Sec.), Warwickshire Hon. Sec., Midlands Hon. Sec., and Hon. Sec. for the Great Britain Hockey Board during which time the men won a bronze medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In addition, whilst working for Swiftplan in Bahrain, Trevor set up an umpires’ association as well as umpiring and coaching new umpires.

Trevor formally retired whilst at the top but continued to umpire at club level for Reading HC for more than twenty years, mainly for the top veterans’ team. The tribute from Reading HC (elsewhere on our website) praises Trevor’s unstinting contribution to hockey club life towards the end of his very full life.

During his long hockey career, Trevor made many longstanding friendships around the world. His understanding wife Janet, to whom he was married for more than fifty years, contributed greatly to this. Having finally hung up his whistle a couple of years ago, Trevor and Janet moved to Shrewsbury to be near family but, much to Trevor’s sorrow, Janet passed away not long afterwards.

A personal note from the The Hockey Museum Curator Mike Smith, a former member of Fort Dunlop HC:

"I was the recipient of Trevor’s encouragement and enthusiasm at the start of my hockey life nearly sixty-five years ago when I was a schoolboy. He handwrote personal notes to me on the weekly Fort Dunlop HC newsletters that went out to members. That I still remember his encouragement a lifetime on shows the enduring effect my old friend had on my hockey journey."

 

Mike Smith

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...

Alan Raymond Jackson, 1939-2022

Alan Raymond Jackson, 1939-2022

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Allistar Fredericks, 1971-2021

Allistar Fredericks, 1971-2021

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Audrey Appleby, 1924-2020

Audrey Appleby, 1924-2020

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Balbir Singh Dosanjh, 1923-2020

Balbir Singh Dosanjh, 1923-2020

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Barbara West, 1913-2014

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Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, 1939-2017

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Betty (Shelly) Shellenberger, 1921-2019

Betty (Shelly) Shellenberger, 1921-2019

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Bill Colwill OBE, 1930-2016

Bill Colwill OBE, 1930-2016

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Cecilia Reid, 1925-2018

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Charles Randall, 1948 – 2020

Charles Randall, 1948 – 2020

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Christopher Todd, 1946-2018

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David Prosser, 1943-2021

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     Left: A smiling David on his motorised scooter that helped keep him mobile in recent times.Right: David was presented with his GB honours cap by his son Lewis.   25.01.1943 – 24.01.2021 The Hockey Museum (THM) is very saddened to record the death of David Prosser, one of our greatest...

Ernest (Ernie) Wall, 1924-2020

Ernest (Ernie) Wall, 1924-2020

Ernie Wall. Courtesy: SikhsinHockey.com 24.12.1924 – 15.11.2020 It is with sadness that we learn of the passing of Ernest (Ernie) Wall on Sunday 15 November 2020 at Windyhall Care Home, Ayr in Scotland. He was aged 95. Ernie’s career in hockey spans more than 70 years, starting during his war service in...

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...

Grace Robertson, 1930-2021

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  Portrait of Grace Robertson, unknown artist. 16.04.1930 – 03.03.2021 It is difficult to put into words what Grace meant to me and to field hockey in the United States – she was an inspiration to so many and we shall all miss her a great deal. When I graduated...

Graham Wilson, 1952-2016

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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....

Helen Morgan, 1966-2020

Helen Morgan, 1966-2020

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Ian Fitzgerald, 1930-2021

Ian Fitzgerald, 1930-2021

  Ian Fitzgerald with his wife Pauline.   This article was previously published in the Eastcote Hockey Club newsletter, edition no. 813, December 2021. 1930 – 10.12.2021  It is with great sadness and an immense sense of loss that Eastcote Hockey Club (EHC) of Ruislip, Middlesex, announces the passing of...

Ian Leighton Mitchell, 1931-2022

Ian Leighton Mitchell, 1931-2022

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Ian Roberts, 1953-2018

Ian Roberts, 1953-2018

12.11.1953 – 29.07.2018 This article was written to celebrate the life of Ian Roberts, otherwise known as ‘Robbo’ or ‘Weeble’. He was a huge character in the hockey world and a founding member of the hockey family. Ian was born on 12 November 1953 and started playing hockey as a teenager....

Isabella (Ella) Mackenzie Vlandy, 1914-2021

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  Scotland women's hockey team, 1939. Ella Vlandy is back row far right.   06.02.1914 – 14.07.2021 The Hockey Museum is saddened to report the recent passing of Ella Vlandy. At 107, she was thought to be the eldest surviving Scottish international hockey player. Ella was still living independently in...

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...

Jane Nockolds, 1959-2021

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30.01.1941 – 30.06.2019 Jaswinder (Jas) Singh Missan, the former Kenyan international, died yesterday morning (Sunday) following a stroke at his home in Chatham, Kent, England. He was aged 78. Jas was born on 30 January 1941 in Mombasa, Kenya. He was educated at Alidina Visram High School and Mombasa Technical High School....

Jean Calder, 1929-2022

Jean Calder, 1929-2022

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We are saddened to learn of the passing of John Cockett, an Olympic hockey medallist and talented cricketer, aged 92. Cockett was a member of the Great Britain (GB) hockey team which won a bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, beating Pakistan 2-1, before finishing fourth four years later...

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...

John Handley Grimmer, 1941-2021

John Handley Grimmer, 1941-2021

  11.11.1941 – 30.06.2021 We are sad to announce the passing of John Handley Grimmer. John was a 1st XI player for Hounslow Hockey Club and Middlesex County Hockey in the 1960s and 1970s. He went on to coach both sides to great success. John played for England in 2...

John Land, 1938-2021

John Land, 1938-2021

    17.07.1938 – 06.01.2021 We are sorry to advise that John Land, former England and Great Britain player, has passed away. John had been suffering with Motor Neurone Disease for the past four years and his condition deteriorated recently and he passed away peacefully with his wife Julie holding...

John Peake CBE, 1924-2022

John Peake CBE, 1924-2022

  26.08.1924 – 30.03.2022 “A Legend has left us” is certainly true of John Peake who died in March at the age of 97. He was the oldest living British Olympic medallist, having won a hockey silver medal at the 1948 London Olympic Games. In 2012, John was a celebrity...

Kate Billson

Kate Billson

It is sad to note that Kate Billson died peacefully on Monday 27 January at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester following a short illness as a result of lung cancer. Kate became extremely well known in the men’s and boys’ game and she spent many years helping the development and progress of...

Ken Wilson, 1956-2022

Ken Wilson, 1956-2022

  1956 – 21.05.2022 Ken Wilson passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday 21 May 2022 after a short fight with Lymphoma; he was 65. Ken’s family – his wife Kaye and children Hannah and James – meant everything to him. Ken was married to Kaye for 36 years after...

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....

Marie Weir, 1926-2022

Marie Weir, 1926-2022

    Marie Weir scoring against England at The Oval cricket ground in 1950. Scotland lost 6-2.   03.06.1926 – 27.02.2022 Dr Marie Weir (nee Jaffrey Smith) was a Scottish international hockey player in the late 1940s/early 1950s. She won a bronze medal at the post-war festival of women’s hockey...

Maurice Kittrell, 1930-2020

Maurice Kittrell, 1930-2020

Maurice Kittrell. Image courtesy of Tony Tucker. It is with sadness that we record the death of Maurice Kittrell, a very well-known and great hockey personality and supporter. His friendliness and enthusiasm for all aspects of hockey was second to none. Maurice was probably best known for his long association...

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...

Mike Elliott, 1937-2020

Mike Elliott, 1937-2020

  24.10.1937 – 05.12.2020 It is with much sadness that we report news of the death of Mike Elliott. Mike was a true club and county stalwart and was a major influence on how the Sheffield Hockey Club (SHC) looks and operates today. He passed away peacefully in his sleep...

Mike Ward, 1942-2022

Mike Ward, 1942-2022

  09.12.1942 – 14.02.2022 Hockey goalkeeper, umpire, umpire developer, administrator extraordinaire, strong amateur tennis player, renowned public speaker, battlefield historian, great friend to many and lastly, but not least, a quiz star! Mike Ward: Yes, he preferred to be known by his middle name, was a war baby born in...

Nadean Burden, 1949-2021

Nadean Burden, 1949-2021

  01.11.1949 – 09.06.2021 The Hockey Museum is sad to advise of the death of one of its volunteers, Nadean Burden (previously Withers, née Toes). Nadean was a feisty, direct Yorkshire woman who came to London as a newly qualified PE teacher to work in an inner London comprehensive school...

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....

Pam Parker OBE, 1929-2019

Pam Parker OBE, 1929-2019

Pam Parker receiving the Freedom of the City of Leicester fromthe Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, on behalf of Leicester Ladies HC.   Pam Parker OBE, 1929–29 May 2019 The Hockey Museum is saddened by news of the death of Pam Parker. Pam was a long-time servant of hockey for over...

Parminder (Kake) Singh Saini, 1957-2021

Parminder (Kake) Singh Saini, 1957-2021

    19.09.1957 – 30.05.2021 Parminder (Kake) Singh Saini who represented Kenya the Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 Olympic Games died in Kisumu on 30 May – a Covid-19 victim, aged 63. Parminder died on the same day he was due to join other Kenyan Olympic players at a...

Peter Boizot, 1929-2018

Peter Boizot, 1929-2018

  16.11.1929 – 05.12.2018 Most hockey enthusiasts will have enjoyed Pizza Express or a Peroni beer at some time, but would they know of their connections to hockey? The answer lies in the story of Peter Boizot, described on his newly installed plaque in Peterborough Town Hall as “Mr Peterborough”....

Peter Crane, 1935-2020

Peter Crane, 1935-2020

  Peter Crane on one of many family safaris.Image courtesy of the Crane family. Peter Crane 04.12.35 – 20.12.20 A great servant and supporter of both English and international hockey, Peter Crane, has died at the age of 86. Peter’s hockey interest began at Whitgift School, Croydon. This was followed...

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...

Tony Johnson, 1949-2020

Tony Johnson, 1949-2020

27.2.1949 – 25.5.2020 The name of Anthony William Johnson was never likely to be found in hockey’s national record books, and his portrait was never destined for any Hall of Fame, but Tony Johnson was undoubtedly one of those unsung heroes and club legends upon whom our great sport depends....

Trevor Jones, 1930-2021

Trevor Jones, 1930-2021

  17.05.1930 – 24.10 2021 It is sad to relate the passing of a great servant of our sport with the passing of Trevor Jones at the age of 91. Trevor was a true all-rounder within hockey having played outfield and in goal, becoming an umpire and involving himself in...

Valerie Robinson OBE, 1941-2022

Valerie Robinson OBE, 1941-2022

  Val Robinson, shown here with husband Gwyn, was awardedan OBE for services to hockey in 1985.   A Tribute to Val Robinson OBE:International hockey star, club player, BBC Superstars winner, footballer, golfer, hockey coach and friend. 18.12.1941 – 12.02.2022 The hockey family will have been saddened this week by...

Varinder Singh, 1947-2022

Varinder Singh, 1947-2022

A Career Forged in an Era of Flux   16.05.1947 – 28.06.2022 By Nikhilesh Bhattacharya   World hockey lost another link to its rich past when Indian Olympian Varinder Singh died on 28 June 2022. He was 75. Varinder Singh’s international career spanned the 1970s, a decade that witnessed seismic...

Wim Van Noortwijk, 1941-2020

Wim Van Noortwijk, 1941-2020

  Wim Van Noortwijk at the Grand Masters Hockey World Cup in Australia, 2016. It is with great sadness that I must tell you that Wim died peacefully this morning after a long battle with cancer. It was typical of the man that he insisted on being part of our...

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