Trustee Biographies

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John Willmott

John Willmott – Chair

John Willmott has hockey in his blood as he has been attending hockey matches for most weeks of his life since his birth and has regularly attended many festivals at home and abroad. He still plays veterans hockey for Southgate and summer hockey for Pistons. He has been President of both and has been a Chairman of several businesses over the years. He is a Trustee of Sportsaid’s Eastern Region and a recently retired Chair of a prep school.

John is married with five children and lives in Hungerford, Berkshire. He is from the fifth generation of a family run construction and property company and sat on the National Council of the Chartered Institute of Building. In addition and following his involvement as the Stadium Director for the 1986 Hockey World Cup in London, he became an artificial turf pitch consultant. This was then followed by working as a volunteer at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul for GB Hockey and the British Olympic Association. He has worked on many of the elite hockey installations throughout the UK and for a variety of school and university sports facilities including making many grant aid applications. John was also appointed for the 2012 London Olympics hockey training facility at Chigwell which was replicated at Riverbank.


Mike Smith

Mike Smith – Honorary Curator, President and Trustee

Mike Smith is a 'Baby Boomer' who learned his hockey from the cradle thanks to his hockey enthusiast father who learned his hockey at school in India. He played his first club match at the age of 12 and continued for over fifty years, also taking on administrative roles at club, county and national levels, taking in outdoor, indoor, umpiring and coaching, becoming one of the first Hockey Assocation (HA) coaches in the early 1970s.

In founding specialist hockey company Mercian in 1974, Mike's involvement in hockey became even greater. Shortly after, by marrying hockey player Judy and producing two hockey-playing sons, a total hockey family was created. The birth of Mercian enabled the collection of hockey material of all kinds – maybe the start of The Hockey Museum (THM)?

Involvement in the London World Cup of 1986 saw the first display of hockey memorabilia and planted the seeds of what was to come. In June 1992, with the impending National Hockey Stadium at Milton Keynes, Mike and David Wareham were asked by Phil Appleyard, the then HA President, to become joint honorary curators of The Hockey Museum based at the new stadium. A few ‘ups and downs’ ensued, but in 2011, with Mike retired from Mercian, an offer of a home from Woking Borough Council saw the re-birth of the dream of a dedicated museum for hockey and Mike became one of THM's founder Trustees. The rest, as they say, is history, but that is what THM is all about.


Mike BarfordMike Barford  Treasurer and Trustee

Mike Barford graduated from Cambridge University in 1971 with a degree in Mathematics. After 3 years teaching at Christ's Hospital (CH), he trained as a Chartered Accountant, becoming a partner in 1985 in Deloitte, where he co-founded the Forensic Services Department, specialising in providing expert accounting advice to clients involved in disputes. After retiring in 2003, he was for many years Treasurer of the Surrey Cricket Board and a Trustee of Eastbourne College Inc., and is currently Treasurer of a Charitable Foundation which supports pupils at CH and Treasurer of the University Hockey Match Organising Committee. Mike played hockey for Cambridge University, Sussex and Richmond, of which he is a former 1st XI captain and club President. He also played cricket for Cambridge University, and retains an active role in several cricket clubs. Since 2006, he has led the volunteer team in the CH Museum, where he is Honorary Curator.


Heather Dichter

Heather Dichter  Trustee

Dr. Heather Dichter is associate professor of sport management and sport history in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester. She is the programme leader for DMU’s Sport Management MSc and also teaches on the Sports History and Culture MA.

Heather’s research focuses on sport and diplomacy, with a particular focus on the occupation of Germany and the Cold War. Her books include Bidding for the 1968 Olympic Games: NATO's Cold War Battle with International Sport (Massachusetts, 2021), Soccer Diplomacy: International Relations and Football since 1914 (Kentucky, 2020), and, with Andrew Johns, Diplomacy Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations since 1945 (Kentucky, 2014).

Heather studied history at the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Toronto, where she earned her PhD in 2008. She has previously taught at Ithaca College and Western Michigan University before moving to England in 2017. She grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the heartland of field hockey in the United States and home of Spooky Nook, where the US Women’s National Team was based for several years.

Heather brings her academic and research experience to support The Hockey Museum’s activities.


imogen gibbonImogen Gibbon – Trustee

Imogen Gibbon graduated from the University of St Andrews with an MA (Hons) in Art History, subsequently gained an MSc in Archive Administration from Aberystwyth University. From 1997 until 2002 she was Curator of Historic Photographs and Ship Plans at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich before moving on to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2002 to became Senior Curator of the Reference Section. In 2013, she took up her current role of Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery where she has been responsible for initiating and delivering many successful exhibitions.

For Imogen, the development of The Hockey Museum's collection – both the objects and archives  is pivotal to achieving the objective of placing the Museum at the centre of the heritage of hockey in the UK and internationally. She looks forward to bringing her twenty-plus years of professional museum and gallery experience to assisting with the development and exhibition of the collection, the world’s leading hockey museum and archive.


Mike JoyceMike Joyce – International Hockey Federation-nominated Trustee

Mike Joyce graduated from the University of Leicester in 1997 with a degree in Sport Science and Mathematics.

Born to a hockey family of Anglo-Indian decent, Mike is passionate about the sport. He has been a player, coach, umpire, club official and volunteer all his life, and has held various professional roles in hockey and wider sport. He co-founded Futures Sports, a provider of international residential hockey camps, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021.

Following six years as the National Development Manager for England Hockey from 1999 to 2005, Mike moved to Switzerland to help run a ski school and to lecture in Sport Science. Since then, he has held positions with the International Olympic Committee, was Executive Director of The Hockey Foundation and now heads up Education & Development for the International Hockey Federation. Out of work, Mike is a member of Stade Lausanne Hockey Club and Head Coach of Switzerland U18 Boys.


Claire McQuillan

Claire McQuillan – Trustee

Claire McQuillan is a heritage professional with over a decade of experience in conservation, collections care, exhibition curation, research, and audience development. She has worked with national organisations, independent museums, and cultural organisations to deliver strategies for collections care and collections management to ensure that heritage objects and stories are preserved in the best possible way to inspire current and future users.

Highlights

  • Development of a heritage strategy to preserve England Athletics’ heritage objects.
  • The acquisition, transfer, treatment and cataloguing of the collections of the Museum of Knots and Sailors Ropework for Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, to support a major gallery redevelopment, opened in early 2022.
  • Researching, developing and co-curating multiple temporary and permanent exhibitions and associated digital content for The Historic Dockyard Chatham including Hidden Heroines (2021), an exploration of women’s roles in the Royal Navy and shore establishments over the past four centuries, and Untold Stories (2018) in association with Medway African and Caribbean Association, uncovering and celebrating the contributions of black people in Kent across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Claire has experience of developing and delivering training in conservation and collections care for staff, volunteers and specialist interest groups, and has presented to the Institute of Conservation (ICON) on the treatment of archaeological artefacts. She holds a Masters Degree in Conservation of Cultural Heritage and works as a mentor with various universities.

Claire’s interest in sport began at an early age, inspired by her sporting family. Although a decidedly mediocre athlete across many disciplines, she continues to enjoy sport in its many forms and is excited to be able to combine her professional interests with the sport of hockey.


Clio OSullivan

Clio O'Sullivan – Trustee

Clio O’Sullivan (@ClioCliona) is Head of Public Engagement and Communications at Chawton House. Her goal is to engage a wider audience through curating exhibitions, delivering an exciting events programme, and broadening Chawton House’s presence on various social media platforms. She has curated two exhibitions, Man Up! (2020-'21) and A Costume of Sport (2022). Her hockey connections began at the age of 11 when she joined Cheam Ladies and whilst studying at the University of Southampton she played for the Ladies XI during the year when they were promoted into the Premier BUCS league and held various positions on committee including, Social Media Secretary, Mixed Captain and Vice Club Captain.

Alongside her work at Chawton House, Clio is a part-time postgraduate research student in English at the University of Southampton, pursuing a PhD in creative writing, submitted in July 2022. Occasionally she dresses in period clothing!


Tochi Panesar

Tarlochan Singh Panesar – Trustee

Tochi Panesar has been very passionate about hockey for as long as he can remember. His family can vouch for this as, over the years, hockey may have taken priority over the odd family engagement!

Tochi was born in the Indian state of Punjab. At the age of five he and his family migrated to Nairobi, Kenya where his love of hockey was sparked. In 1971 he finally settled in England when he moved to South London.

The first club he joined in England was Merton Hockey Club, followed by Hampstead HC. In 1975 he joined Spencer Hockey Club and has been loyal to them ever since! At Spencer, Tochi captained the First XI in the 1980s for six years, played for most of the teams on the ‘way down’ and has since captained the Masters team for a number of years. He had also enjoyed being an integral part of the club’s leadership, taking on the roles of Club Captain, Chairman and President of the Hockey Club. He went on to be Chairman of the Spencer multi-sports club for ten years (hockey, cricket, squash, tennis, and lacrosse), a role he was proud to undertake.

Tochi has played county hockey and has been a member of prominent invitational clubs, for example London Indians, Lusitanians, and Members HC, forging strong friendships along the way. He has also enjoyed coaching both colts teams and senior teams, and has played and managed the Surrey over 60s team, and the South Divisional over 60s and 65s teams. Tochi still enjoys regularly playing for the Spencer Grand Masters team. He also played in the over 65s Masters World Cup in Barcelona in 2018 and the European Cup in Antwerp in 2019.

In business Tochi worked in the IT industry with Lloyds Bank for 30 years, specifically within the banking service delivery and infrastructure environment, where he held a number of senior roles and delivered major infrastructure projects. He retired in 2004 and since then he has spent time with family, taken on voluntary roles at Spencer and also worked as an IT freelancer.


Nick Pink

Nick Pink – England Hockey-nominated Trustee

Nick Pink has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of England Hockey and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Great Britain Hockey since November 2019. Nick came from England Golf where he was CEO for four years. He has a background in sports administration having worked for the International Cricket Council, UK Sport and the Youth Sport. Nick is a hockey enthusiast, and has played, coached and umpired across the country.

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