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Since The Hockey Museum (THM) acquired its first premises in Woking in 2011, the support of the ‘hockey family’ has been integral to its growth. The core of its volunteers has traditionally been drawn from local hockey clubs including Ashford, Staines, Wimbledon, Teddington, Richmond and Woking itself. These days THM team also embraces remote volunteers from hockey clubs further afield, (non-hockey) volunteers from the local community, and enjoys university partnerships and links with mentoring organisations supporting neurodivergent individuals.

One club whose members have given very significantly to THM is Ashford Hockey Club (AHC) in Middlesex. Several of THM’s longest-standing volunteers hail from AHC. On 7 May 2022 the Club celebrated its centenary with a Gala Dinner and THM made a small gesture in recognition of the Club’s influence on its journey.

 

Ashford Hockey Club’s Centenary Gala Dinner

In 1919 a group of women in Ashford (Middlesex, now Surrey) formed a Ladies’ Hockey Club and in 2019 the club that they founded prepared to celebrate its centenary.

"What a sporty little place Ashford is. I hear a hockey club has now been formed,
and its members appear to be enjoying themselves."

- The Middlesex Chronicle, 1920.


Ashford Hockey Club (AHC) had grown in the intervening years to run four ladies’ teams, five men’s teams, an occasional mixed side, a ladies veterans’ team and numerous junior age groups. In 1924 AHC moved from playing on a farmer’s field off Ashford High Street to a dedicated sports club premises alongside Ashford cricket and bowls clubs. AHC moved again in 1998 laying an artificial turf hockey pitch alongside a large new clubhouse in the neighbouring town of Stanwell.

In 2019, preparations began for a grand Centenary Gala Dinner in April 2020. The task of contacting as many past members as possible began and the organising committee put out a request for historical club memorabilia. The club already had the original minute books and old team photographs from the early 1920s onwards (mainly men’s teams), along with press cuttings and fixture cards from pre-war games in the unofficial club archive. Unfortunately, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck everything had to be put on hold. Two cancellations, a change of venue and two years later the event at last took place on Saturday 7 May with 216 past and present members attending.

A 32-page programme including a brief club history was produced from the wealth of club information gathered by the organising committee. Four pop up banners (each depicting 25 years of club history) and a special centenary ale were among other items created for the event, and historic club shirts were also displayed. The oldest shirt dating from the 1960s was loaned by THM where it has been preserved as part of the collection of late club Life Member Mrs Audrey Hewes. It was the type worn by the ladies’ first eleven when they played a celebration game against Middlesex County in 1969 to celebrate the Club’s 50th anniversary.

 

AHC heritage display
 

Ashford (Middlesex) Hockey Club's heritage display at their Centenary Gala Dinner.

In the centre is the 1960s white playing shirt loaned by The Hockey Museum from the collection of late club Life Member Mrs Audrey Hewes.

 

70 50th anniv team v Middx
 
Shirley Winson June Goulds and Doreen Brown at the Gala Dinner
 

Former Ashford Hockey Club (AHC) players at the Gala Dinner. From left to right: Shirley Winson, June Goulds and Doreen Brown.
Doreen volunteers at The Hockey Museum and leads the cataloguing of the pin badge collection.

Above: AHC team photograph featuring the same three women, from an exhibition match against the Middlesex County team played to celebrate AHC's 50th anniversary in 1969. The women wear the same white shirt displayed at the Gala Dinner.

 

A splendid evening was had by all, and many, matches, tours and past events were recalled.

Discover more about the event from a report in The Hockey Paper: A Night of Emotion and Club Service | The Hockey Paper

  

Special Presentations

Lynne Morgan is one of THM’s long-standing AHC volunteers. She is past President of AHC having stood down ahead of the 2021/22 season. At Ashford’s Centenary Gala Dinner Lynne deservedly received a special award recognising her years of dedicated service to AHC – congratulations, Lynne, from all your colleagues at The Hockey Museum.

THM also made a special presentation of its own: a hockey heritage blue plaque denoting AHC’s centenary and recognising the Club’s significant contribution to the Museum’s growth. It was paraded at the Gala Dinner and will be unveiled at Ashford’s clubhouse ahead of the new season.

If you are interested in a blue plaque for your club, please contact us: Contact Us (hockeymuseum.net)

 

Lynne with plaque     Lynne Lifetime Commitment Award
     

Left: Ashford Hockey Club (AHC) past President Lynne Morgan with the hockey heritage plaque donated by The Hockey Museum in recognition of the incredible volunteer support given to establish and grow the Museum over the last decade..

Photo credit: Rod Gilmour | The Hockey Paper.

Right: the Lifetime Commitment Award, awarded to Lynne in a surprise presentation at AHC's Centenary Gala Dinner.

 

Ian with plaque
 

Current and former Ashford Hockey Club (AHC) players at the Gala Dinner. Current Club President Ian Jenkins proudly holds the hockey heritage plaque. From left to right: Yazdi Merchant, Martin Smith (past President), Ian Jenkins, Peter Cottrell and Surinder Jas.

Photo credit: Adrian Norfor | Ashford Hockey Club

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