Obituaries

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1950s Ramsgate Easter Festivals with Ealing LHC Joyce Clarke Audrey Appleby Barbara Walker
 

Joyce Clarke, Audrey Appleby (centre) and Barbara Walker
at Ramsgate Easter Festival with Ealing LHC, 1950s.

 

30.05.1924 19.04.2020

The Hockey Museum is saddened by the news of the recent death of Audrey Appleby. Still in excellent health, Audrey took a fall at home and after a short illness died peacefully aged 95. As a long-term servant of women’s hockey since she took up the sport in the early 1940s, there isn’t much that Audrey didn’t turn her hand to in the hockey world. She became one of the stalwarts of the All England Women's Hockey Association (AEWHA) era, but it was as an umpire and technical official that she will be best remembered; the highlights being when she umpired twice at the annual women’s international match at Wembley Stadium and in umpiring and officiating in numerous international matches including the 1967 Women’s World Cup in Germany.

Audrey’s hockey career began as a regular second-team right wing for Ealing Ladies HC in the early 1940s and her first memories were of making hockey teas, cycling to matches and enjoying the comradery of team sport. Audrey became involved in many aspects of the running of the club but with the England right wing playing in Ealing’s 1st XI, she soon looked for other avenues of development and once she’d picked up the whistle her progress was swift. She had an easy style with the whistle at a time when it was not always seen as ‘fashionable’ to chat with players during and after games, Audrey was never one to hide behind conformity and the players always appreciated her more open approach. In THM's oral history interview with Audrey back in 2015, she talks about being determined to not only talk to players and fellow umpires about their umpiring but also about her umpiring.

Audrey was also an ‘organiser’ as she felt things could always be done better – this got her elected on to numerous committees, a trait that continued throughout her hockey career. Once she retired from top-flight umpiring she continued to work to improve the system for umpire development, selection and mentoring.

Having served Ealing LHC, Middlesex and the South for many years, in the late 1960s, she moved to Wiltshire where she wasted no time joining Old Sarum HC and getting involved in Wiltshire and the West Associations where she continued her work for many more decades.

The Museum was very honoured to welcome both Audrey and Joan Davies for a visit in 2015 and it was during this visit that THM undertook its oral history interview with her. It gives us a very personal and fascinating insight into her hockey career and her very unique personality. You can listen to her story by clicking here.

The Museum has received so many tributes from the many umpires who over the years have benefitted from the support, friendship and wise words given by Audrey. Two ‘A’ umpires, Carol Unwin and Jan Bartlett, both give Audrey great credit for the support and guidance that she gave them in their paths towards achieving the top umpiring award. Many players too, at both club and international levels, have sent in their tributes. Anita White, former England Captain, remembers Audrey as “having great style and, as an outstanding umpire in her day, striking just the right balance between authority and understanding of the game and the players.”.

Audrey’s funeral service was held on Friday 1 May 2020, but due to the COVID19 situation no visitors were allowed. The family have said that they are considering organising a Service of Thanksgiving to remember Audrey’s life at some time in the future.

pdfA full obituary of Audrey’s life, written by Cathy Harris, was published in The Times Newspaper on 06.05.2020 and you can read this by clicking on the PDF.

Katie Dodd

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...

Audrey Appleby, 1924-2020

Audrey Appleby, 1924-2020

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