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Avtar BhurjiThis week the Museum had a unique visit by Olympian Avtar Bhurji, a member of the Ugandan hockey team that took part in the 1972 Games in Munich which saw the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village. The Ugandans were housed on a level just above the Israelis but only once caught a glimpse of a balaclava-clad terrorist on the higher balcony. They were unaware of the drama unfolding so close to them until the following morning.

It was Uganda’s first and only Olympics and, although they finished 15th of 16, they earned draws in their pool games with Argentina (0-0), West Germany (1-1) and Spain (2-2) before beating Mexico 4-1 for 15th place.

After being taken on a museum visit by the Curator, Mr Bhurji gave an Oral History interview with volunteer Evelyn Somerville which will be posted on the THM website in due course. Particularly welcome gifts to the Museum were a number of memorabilia items from the Games, including a booklet with images and signatures of Uganda’s athletes in a range of sports.

Avtar was born in Punjab in 1944 and lived in Uganda and Kenya, where he sat his GCEs, before continuing his schooling in England at Kingston College, then taking A Levels at Wolfram College, Wolverhampton. He returned briefly to Uganda where he played for Sikh Union club in Kampala (which supplied nine of the 18-man Olympic squad) and was selected for the Munich Olympics.

He returned to the UK soon after those Games, to live in Croydon and play for Blackheath and London Indians. It was back to Kenya in 1984 while his wife, son and daughter stayed in UK, but he came back to England three years later and has lived here ever since, apart from a brief return to Uganda to help a younger brother set up a construction business. He played social hockey with the Llamas before ending his playing career in 1991 and has been an active coach since then. He now lives in Worcester Park, Surrey.

Mike Haymonds, 29.1.2020

Playing Pasts And Other Research Projects

01 July 2020
Playing Pasts And Other Research Projects

One of our wonderful volunteers Mark Evans has recently had an article published as a chapter in Playing Pasts, the online magazine for sport and leisure history. “Women’s League Hockey and its Early Development” forms one of several chapters on the history of different sports, so anyone interested in sports...

Protective Equipment And Acts Of Charity, 100 Years Apart

22 June 2020
Protective Equipment And Acts Of Charity, 100 Years Apart

You’ll likely be aware that THM has been running a campaign to collect material that documents the impact of COVID-19 on hockey. More information and a fantastic, free time capsule activity pack for children can be found here. One particularly inspirational story that has reached us as a result of...

COVID-19 Statement

20 March 2020
COVID-19 Statement

Following recent government advice regarding COVID-19, The Hockey Museum will be closed from Monday 23 March until further notice. We are taking this decision to protect the health and welfare of our visitors, volunteers and staff. Museum staff will be working from home, our enquiries service will remain monitored and...

Leapling Into Local Clubs

02 March 2020

On Saturday 29 February, THM took advantage of the extra day of 2020 to leap into Old Cranleighan HC for the day. It builds on previous club visits to Aton HC and Guildford HC in 2019, which together form part of our work towards a Level-Up grant we received from...

The Pat Rowley Journalistic Archive: A Lifetime’s Work Brought To Life

10 February 2020
The Pat Rowley Journalistic Archive: A Lifetime’s Work Brought To Life

Sophia Patel (left) and Marcus Wardle (right) work their way through the Pat Rowley Journalistic Archive. A photograph of two people in front of filing cabinets with a scanner may not appear to be the most riveting of subjects, however they are working on one of the most valuable and...

A Ugandan First

29 January 2020
A Ugandan First

This week the Museum had a unique visit by Olympian Avtar Bhurji, a member of the Ugandan hockey team that took part in the 1972 Games in Munich which saw the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village. The Ugandans were housed on a level just above...

USA Hockey Legend Passes On

07 January 2020
USA Hockey Legend Passes On

Betty (Shelly) Shellenberger, USA, 8 August 1921 - 30 December 2019. The Hockey Museum (THM), along with the sporting world, is mourning the passing of Betty Shellenberger, 98. Betty was a legend in American field hockey and lacrosse through much of the 1900s. Known to friends as ‘Shelly’, she first...

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