Blasts From The Past

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Scroll down for information on how to purchase The Magic of Wembley book - a unique The Hockey Museum publication.


Following the Platinum Jubilee last weekend to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s record breaking 70-year reign, we look back on what is arguably her most iconic hockey moment: the visit to Wembley Stadium in 1981.

The Queen made an appearance at the England vs Wales women’s international match at Wembley, much to the delight of the crowd of 62,000 schoolgirls eager to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty. There was a lunch before the match that was attended by many former players and officials. Before meeting the players, the Queen toured the stadium in an open-top Range Rover alongside All England Women’s Hockey Association (AEWHA) President Mary Russell Vick and Welsh Women's Hockey Association President Ceri O’Donnell. An exciting moment for them both and a wonderful way to acknowledge the sport of hockey, its players and fans.

 

1981 queen tour      1981 Wembley Maggie Souyave introduces Jan Bartlett to the Queen image credit The Hockey Museum
     
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attends during the England vs Wales
women's international hockey match at Wembley Stadium in 1981.

 

Memories of the Queen’s Visit to Wembley Stadium

Pat Ward, former Editor of Hockey Field magazine, recalled how her interest in photography led to an exciting opportunity to photograph the Queen at Wembley Stadium – a memory that has had a lasting impact on her life and career.

Our interview with Pat Ward, which can be found among our oral histories on THM’s website, reveals her fond memories of this day and the nerves she felt from the pressure of the job and of being in the presence of the Queen. The atmosphere was magical. The crowd sang the National Anthem at the end of the match, much to the delight and surprise of Her Majesty, who later mentioned how she felt extremely touched by the love shown to her.

 

Mary RV and Queen Elizabeth II
 

All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) President, Mary Russell Vick with the Queen at Wembley.

Photographs from the Pat Ward collection held at The Hockey Museum.

 

Oral History Interview: Patricia (Pat) Ward | The Hockey Museum

Maggie Souyave, England captain on the day the Queen attended: Oral History Interview: Margaret (Maggie) Souyave | The Hockey Museum

 

In The Hockey Museum’s self-published book, The Magic of Wembley, Christabel Russell Vick (daughter of AEWHA President Mary) recalls how “the thrill of singing God Save the Queen when you can see the Queen was very special. A once-in-a-lifetime memory.” She also remembers her mother coming back from a meeting in late 1980 where she declared, “I have not yet had a refusal from Her Majesty, and I am getting worried that she is going to accept!” As Patron the Queen was invited to Wembley every year.

 

Patron 19 Nov 1979      Approval of Programme 28 Jan 1981
     

Left: A letter from Buckingham Palace confirming the Queen's patrongage of the AEWHA (dated 19 November 1979).
Right: A letter from Sandringham approving the programme for the day the Queen was to visit Wembley (dated 28 January 1981).

From the Mary Russell Vick collection held at The Hockey Museum.

 

Despite the upheaval that the visit caused (such as Wembley Stadium having to re-paint the banqueting hall as the Queen was coming to lunch) the Royal visit provided a very memorable day for every attendee. Katie Dodd who played in the match remembers the excitement of meeting the Queen and recalled that the team probably spent more time practising curtsies than short corners!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s reign has touched many people, but for hockey players past and present, this moment was a defining point in the history of hockey which, considering the size of the Wembley crowd and the age of our Monarch, is unlikely to be matched on such a scale ever again.

 

Thank you latter from Buckingham Palace page 1 23 March 1981      Thank you letter from Buckingham Palace page 2 23 March 1981
     

The thank you letter to Mary Russell Vick sent from Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen (dated 23 March 1981).

From the Mary Russell Vick collection held at The Hockey Museum.

 

Purchase The Magic of Wembley Book

Discover the inspirational history of the England women’s annual hockey match at Wembley Stadium between 1951-1991. Purchase The Magic of Wembley for only £10 plus postage (UK £3.00, Europe £7.00, rest of the world £9.00). Payment via PayPal using the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or send a cheque. Please use our website contact form for further details: Contact Us | The Hockey Museum

 

"Incredible original photography and images alongside extracts from programmes, accounts from players and spectators make this a very special trip down memory lane. For any fan of hockey, Wembley or women's sport, this is a book that simply must be read."

– Sally Munday, former Chief Executive, England Hockey

 

For over forty years, the national stadium hosted the annual women's hockey international. It was a sporting event quite unlike any other: from the austere 1950s, with the players in thick skirts and heavy blouses and a St Trinians army of girls on the terraces in full school uniform, through the pop culture of the 1960s and '70s, when the players' skirts got shorter and the girls also sported allegiance to Marc Bolan and Donny Osmond – the hot popstars of the time.

It was a cauldron of unforgettable, good-natured screaming loyalty, delivered in that combinaion of high-frequency and ferocious volume which only be produced by 60,000 schoolgirls.

The book shares personal memories from players, umpires and spectators to help give a sense of how special these days were. As social history mixes with nostalgia for a bygone era, see how things changed over the four decades in which the matches were played – the rules, the kit, the sticks – and the wonderful songs shared in the community singing before the match.

 

MoW A1 poster PRESS single 1

Blasts From The Past: An Introduction

This features page includes articles from hockey's rich history. With the ever increasing activity of The Hockey Museum, our research is constantly coming across fascinating stories from throughout the sport's history and across the hockey world. These are not current news stories although some may have been when they occurred....

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Attends The Women's Hockey At Wembley Stadium in 1981

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Attends The Women's Hockey At Wembley Stadium in 1981

Scroll down for information on how to purchase The Magic of Wembley book - a unique The Hockey Museum publication. Following the Platinum Jubilee last weekend to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s record breaking 70-year reign, we look back on what is arguably her most iconic hockey moment: the visit...

Discovering Vera Cox's Missing Scrapbook

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A Mother's Pride

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The Evolution of Hockey Honours Caps

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The First Ever "Hockey" Magazine

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The Festival of Britain’s Grand International Hockey Tournament 1951

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The First Ever Women's International Hockey Match in 1896

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A Rare Item In The Modern Hockey World

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Terrific Trophies

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A Vintage Christmas Present? From India To The London Stage

A Vintage Christmas Present? From India To The London Stage

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An Early Easter Hockey Tour

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Bullets Stopped Play

Bullets Stopped Play

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Hockey Played In Antarctica

Hockey Played In Antarctica

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Bringing History To Life With Juan Calzado

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An Update On The English Cup

An Update On The English Cup

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The Grand International Match

The Grand International Match

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The Liberty Bodice

The Liberty Bodice

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Hockey And Football: A Comparison

Hockey And Football: A Comparison

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An Illegal Hockey Stick

An Illegal Hockey Stick

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The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

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Hockey On The Sand At Minehead

Hockey On The Sand At Minehead

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Have You Heard Of The English Cup?

Have You Heard Of The English Cup?

I have recently joined the many volunteers working with the The Hockey Museum. As I live in the Manchester area I am quite away from all the action, however I have recently been forwarded a couple of enquires from the Museum in relation to matters from the North! My first...

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