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Friday 15 October 2021 at Cottrell Park Golf Resort, Cardiff


IMG 20211015 164644      IMG 20211015 160710

The Great Britain & Ireland Touring Team to the USA in 1965 were awarded their
Great Britain honours caps at a presentation dinner in Cardiff on 15.10.2021.

In the left photograph:
Back row: Valerie Crombie (nee Sinclair), Giles Stokes and Angela Madley (Jennifer Stokes nee Braham's son and daughter),
Kate Layton (Mary Drake nee Hyland’s niece).

Front row: Janice Lang (nee Mitchell) , Ellen Jenkins (nee Toulson), Eirianwen Thomas,
Helen O’Boyle (nee O’Neill), Janet Hopkins (nee Morgan).


At a very special ceremony at Cottrell Park Golf Club, Cardiff, the surviving members of the very first women’s GB Squad to be selected in 1965, were presented with their GB Honours Caps by the current GB Hockey President, Sheila Morrow. Six members of this trailblazing team, Helen O’Boyle (nee O’Neill) (Ireland), Eirianwen Thomas and Janet Hopkins (nee Morgan) (both Wales), Janice Lang (nee Mitchell) and Valerie Crombie (nee Sinclair) (both Scotland) and Ellen Jenkins (nee Toulson) (England) came together again for the first time in 56 years. Listening to them sharing great memories of the tour to the USA, their other stories and the laughter, it seemed like it had only happened yesterday. These former players were joined by the relatives of Jennifer Braham (England) and Mary Hyland (Wales) who are sadly no longer with us.

The event was hosted by the Welsh Women’s Hockey Golf Group at their annual lunch. THM was represented by Katie Dodd and Sue Lane. Sue, along with Steve Ellis, have been the two museum volunteers responsible for the majority of work to pull together the complete the GB match records.

When The Hockey Museum started the work to compile a complete and accurate record of every GB match and the players who played in them, the commonly held view was that the first GB women’s team was selected in 1978 ahead of the entry of women’s hockey into the Olympic Games in 1980. The discovery of a 1965 GB & Ireland Touring Team (GB&ITT) blazer in the Dublin City Library Archives that had been donated by Joan Horne, changed all this. Further research confirmed the existence of a GB tour to the USA and the names of all the players – but was this an official tour and could the two matches played against the USA team be counted as capped games? After much research by the museum’s volunteer sleuths and contact with many of the squad members and hockey colleagues in the USA, we were able to confirm that the team was selected by an official GB committee and it played against the USA in two matches that the United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) considered as full international matches.

The members and relatives of the first GB women’s team had come together from all over the UK. There were emotional reunions as they met in the bar to begin the reminiscing, carrying on during lunch which was then followed by the GB honours cap presentation ceremony itself. At the end, the tourists were serenaded by all the Welsh players who, led by Janet Morgan (now Mrs Hopkins) on the ukulele, gave a special rendition of “This land is your land” which had been the tour song back in 1965.


Screenshot 20211015 193105 comandroidgallery3d
Great Britain & Ireland Touring Team in the USA in 1965.


Janice Mitchell (now Mrs Lang) relayed:

“A very big ‘Thank You' to The Hockey Museum team who were responsible for pulling together all the information which enabled the presentations of the GB&ITT honours caps to be made … It was obviously a mammoth task but one for which I, as a player in that first GB&ITT team, am extremely grateful. Never did we think that 56 years on we would be receiving our hockey caps for playing in that 1965 Touring Team to the USA. It was a very emotional day and I would not have missed it for the world – the cap is really fantastic and I am so proud to have received it. Having the caps funded was much appreciated and a big thank you to GB Hockey for arranging this.”

Giles Stokes who attended to receive his mother’s GB cap added:

"It was an honour for my sister Angela and I to represent our Mum, Jennifer Braham, and receive her GB cap from the 1965 USA tour. A special event, meeting some of the players from that very first GB squad who had fond memories of our Mum."


THM managed to contact all seven surviving squad members, five attended the presentations in Cardiff. Sadly, Joan Horne was taken ill the day before the event so was unable to travel and Thelma Hopkins, who now lives in Canada, is currently in hospital and we have not yet been able to speak to her.

The Museum has also managed to track down the relatives or friends of the remaining members of the squad who are no longer with us. Their GB caps will now find good homes. The families of Jennifer Braham and Mary Hyland received their caps during this presentation event and Bridget Cannell’s daughter, Tracy French, was presented with her mother’s GB Cap earlier this year (click here). The squad’s captain, Joyce Hunter (Scotland), had no living relatives so THM is in discussion with The High School of Dundee where she went to school and where other items of her hockey career are already on display. We have been in touch with the relatives of Helen Weir, the GB squad goalkeeper, and are planning a special ceremony for them to receive her cap in the coming months. Maureen Short (England) also had no relatives so we are arranging to present her GB cap to IM Marsh PE College at next year’s Old Students Reunion. Maureen was a long-time lecturer at the college and items of her England and GB kit are already in their archives. Barbara Stacey has also died with no close relatives, and we are using Welsh contacts to find close friends.




The full 1965 squad as pictured in the above photograph:

Back row: Jennifer Braham (Mrs Stokes); Joan Horne (Mrs Priestman); Maureen Short; Helen Weir; Bridget Cannell (Mrs Parkes); Thelma Hopkins (Mrs McClernon); Valerie Sinclair (Mrs Crombie).

Sitting: Mary Hyland (Mrs Drake); Janice Mitchell (Mrs Lang); Joyce Hunter (Captain); Mrs Hopkins, (Manager); Eirianwen Thomas; Ellen Toulson (Mrs Jenkins); Helen O’Neil (Mrs O’Boyle).

Kneeling: Barbara Stacey; Janet Morgan (Mrs Hopkins).


Katie Dodd

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