John Ramuz (1933-2019)

John Ramuz (1933 – 2019) was an energetic, enthusiastic and, let it be said, at times a slightly eccentric member of the mens club throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Hockey was his favourite sport, mostly at our club in the lower teams, although when he learnt to sail, this activity featured high on the list as well. Thanks to connections through his Dutch wife Mien and her brother in the Netherlands, John was the inspiration behind a long series of home and away tournaments with HC Alphen. Many of our retired players have fond memories of these visits and the family exchanges. John also liked to organise Sunday matches against the masters of his old school, Gresham’s at Holt in Norfolk.

John made an enormous contribution to the running of the club and for many years worked closely with chairman and later president Colin Barber. The statistics tell us this: Treasurer for nine consecutive seasons from 1969/70 to 1977/78, Secretary 1980/81 and 1981/82, Chairman 1982/83 through to 1984/85. He also fitted in two seasons as 5th XI captain while he was treasurer. We undoubtedly benefited from the business acumen and great energy that he brought to his work for the club.

Fred Poole

It was with sadness that we learned of the death of former 1st team keeper and Club Vice President, Fred Poole, on the 17th December 2010.

Fred played a major part in turning around the playing fortunes of the Club in the early seventies. By the time that I started playing he was one of two BSHC players (the other being Tony Gray) representing Herts at County A level, at a time when playing for the county was something of an achievement.

Prior to joining the Hockey Club, as well as being a very good sprinter, Fred had played a certain amount of rugby. His knowledge of ‘rugby songs’ was legendary, and to this day his rendering of classics such as ‘Craven A’ and ‘In Mobile’ during the transit van trips to Bad Neunar (near Bonn) for the indoor hockey festival, has remained firmly imprinted!

We have all lost a tremendous guy both on and off the pitch.

BSHC was represented on Thursday 6th January 2011 at Fred Poole’s funeral by the following:

  • Pam Wilde
  • Tony Wellings
  • Norman Livings
  • Colin & Tricia Barber
  • Simon Hurwitz
  • David Wigens
  • David Manser
  • Mark Surridge
  • Richard Owen

Richard Owen: If I remember rightly Fred was 1st XI goalkeeper when I first played for the club in 1970. When I saw him about two years ago he was still working. We were at Rhodes Arts Centre and his daughter Gemma’s boyfriend was the lead in the Buddy Holly and the Cricketers show.

From my club archive I see that Fred was 1st XI captain in 1969/70, 1970/71 and 1971/72. Then he was Ground Sec. for 72/73 and 73/74; later one of a trio of the first Vets Organisers in 78/79 and 79/80 and became a VP in 1981. Maybe not known to all on this circulation but a stalwart of the club, even though he may have lost contact with many, and fondly remembered.

Colin Harker: I just know he was “a good goalie, a good clubman, a good hockey tourist and one of life’s good guys”.

Tony Gray: Fred Poole was a stalwart of the Hockey Club. He took on many roles within the club both on the playing side and also on the administrative side.

I can’t recall exactly when I first played with Fred but I do remember that he took over from his brother Geoff as 1st eleven keeper in the late sixties early seventies. Fred loved his visits to the Festivals, Thanet, Lowestoft and Clacton and played a major role in organising these events. But I guess the indoor festival at Bad near Bonn will be the one I shall also remember Fred for. As Peter Rook has mentioned his repertoire of rugby songs was unsurpassed.

Fred was a super guy to know very enthusiastic in everything he did and I shall always remember him with fondness. A sad loss.

Peter Llewellyn: I have been away and only recently caught up with my email. It was tragic news to hear about Fred and I did some research into old Fixture cards and Thanet programmes.

Fred Poole joined the Hockey Club in the early 1960s and played regularly for the Sunday XI as he played rugby for Cheshunt on Saturdays. When injury curtailed his rugby, Fred became the regular 1st XI goalkeeper until the late 1970s playing on Saturdays and Sundays. He captained the 1st XI from 1969 to 1972 when he became Ground Secretary in the days before a permanent Groundsman was employed.

In those days The Ground Secretary decided if the match was to be played and he marked out the grass pitches and sometimes erected the goals.

In the late 1960s Fred took on the responsibility of organising “The Bishops” at the Thanet Hockey Festival and then in the early 1970s the visits to Bad Neuenahr for 7-a-side indoor Hockey Festival.

Fred continued playing regular hockey and organising “Thanet” until he retired from hockey in the late 1970s/early1980s.

I hope this gives the newer players some idea of the effort and contributions Fred Poole put into BSHC.

Simon Hurwitz: Very sad news. When I first started playing for the Club, whilst at school, in 1969, Fred looked after me. He was an excellent role model and mentor to a young, shy kid. I have many good recollections of playing just in front of him and after the game. I have many memories of festivals with him, particularly Thanet and Bad Neuenahr.

I remember him well and always will.

Fred’s family wish to thank everyone who attended his funeral and for the many cards, messages of sympathy and donations to Cancer Research UK in his memory. Thanks also to everyone for their help and support during this difficult time and to Michael Prior and all at Daniel Robinson & Sons for their kindness and care

James Kew (1970 – 2012)

It is with great sadness and shock that I have to tell you that James Kew was killed in a freak accident last night while out running. Details are still unclear, but it appears James was out with his Saffron Walden running club when he was hit by a fallen down electrical cable in a field. Power to the cable could not be isolated for a number of hours and by that time James was pronounced dead at the scene.

James had been a member for Bishops Stortford Hockey Club for about 20 years, primarily playing for the Men’s 3rd and 4th XI, and over the last two seasons has been part of our successful Men’s Masters Squad.

From the reaction within the Club, all are deeply shocked and saddened by this awful news. We all knew him as a player who was passionate about the game and his club, and are shocked at the death of a genuinely nice guy who will be missed by all. Having personally played with him over his years for BSHC, I fully concur with the sentiments felt by all within the club, and will miss his presence in the side through future seasons.

The club have a number of summer league fixtures this week and having cancelled tonight’s mixed team game, captains and players for tomorrows ladies and men’s fixtures will be requesting a minute’s silence prior to these commencing as an opportunity for personal reflection of a player that was key to some of the clubs successes throughout his playing career with Bishops Stortford.

The Club offer our deepest condolences to his wife and family throughout this traumatic period.

Messages received from fellow clubs:

St Albans (John Pritchard): Sorry to see the sad news that James Kew was so tragically killed while out running. I didn’t know him personally but suspect I will have played against him in past seasons. Condolences to his family from a fellow Herts hockey player and best wishes to the Bishop Stortford Hockey Club.

Cheshunt (Philip Ward): On behalf of all at Cheshunt HC, and I know ALL will be shocked and saddened by this, we send our condolences to James’ family and his many friends at BSHC.

Spalding (Shaun Dewing): Please accept our deepest condolences for your sad loss from all at Spalding Hockey Club. Our thoughts are with you all and for his family at this awful time.

Paula Harrison

The club wished to inform the members that Paula Harrison, wife of Richard Harrison, died on Tuesday night. This will be a shock to some of you who weren’t even aware that she was ill. She was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with ‘cardiac amyloidosis’ – essentially her bone marrow was producing too much of a certain protein which was getting stuck in her heart and had over the last year or more made the heart walls very thick, rigid and thus reduced hugely the effectiveness of her heart. The plan was that chemotherapy over the next 4-8 months would stop the problem getting worse. She had done three weeks of this plus steroids and a myriad of drugs to stop the side effects. She’d also had an ICD (pacemaker + defibrillator) device fitted just three weeks ago.

Paula Harrison

The club send their condolences to Richard and his family during this period of mourning.

Tony Gray (1945 – 2014)

Tony Gray joined the Club in the early 1960s. Elected as Team Secretary in 1967/68 and a member of the Management Committee in 1976 and ultimately a Vice President. Since retiring from playing, he regularly supported the Club teams playing at Hockerill School but would retreat to the Golf Club for practice if the game was not of sufficient excitement. A single handicap golfer, which emphasised his eye and hand coordination as displayed during his hockey playing days.

Tony Gray

Tony (front and centre) captained the BSHC 1974/5 1st XI that earned top flight status in the inaugural East Leagues the following season.

Colin Barber (Past President) recalls drafting in a young Tony Gray to make up the numbers for a Saturday morning game against Colchester. It soon became apparent that Tony was a young player of promising ability and he quickly became a regular to the first team. Starting as left half and later moving to centre half, he became a good, reliable and well liked member of the club although often the butt of friendly banter due to his slightly bowed legs!

Tony Gray

Tony pictured 4th from the right.

For some years Tony Gray worked for Fyffes/Wilkinsons (the local banana depot at Great Dunmow) which meant he had limited availability to play good hockey on Saturdays. So he took Sunday hockey very seriously, as did others who played in ‘The Bishops’. This was a very good Sunday side with teachers at the College, who found they had limited availability on Saturdays with school commitments, also enjoyed playing on Sundays. CIM Jones (England & GB) and later Brian Underwood played with the Bishops on Sundays, and brought them talented youngsters like Matthew Swayne, James Duthie, Charles Eaton, and Tim Smith.

‘Peter Rook recalls Tony Gray as the oldest ‘Bishop’ who had the common sense whilst the rest of them were young and foolish – Richard Tofts, Murray Houlder, Charlie Eaton, Colin Watson, Mark Surridge, Peter Rook, Andy Tonkin, Graham Wells. As they had nothing else to do, they played hockey on both Saturdays and Sundays. Quite often, Tony Gray’s Sunday side had better results than the Saturday side, a fact that he was happy to point out proudly to the Saturday captains Mike Brearey and Richard Lace. Alas the rise of the ‘Leagues’ gradually saw the demise of serious Sunday club hockey but Tony was by then working for Pearl Assurance and could play on Saturdays.

Mike Brearey, who captained the Saturday side in the 1970’s, and his wife Irene recall that Tony was a regular baby sitter for their two boys – what wouldn’t he do for a decent meal and freedom of the drinks cupboard! They did however feel it was going too far when Tony was found teaching them to play cards for real money! He was very generous, however, and took the boys with him on his trips to watch Spurs on a number of occasions.

Here are some one liners that sum up Tony Gray the player:

  • Tony was the ‘Senior Pro’, admired greatly as a very skilful player who almost always ‘kept the ball’ and rarely lost it.
  • He had a great ability to time a pass like those old fashioned inside forwards of yore.
  • Although not blessed with electric pace, he was quite feisty and ‘mixed it’ in the tackle and more often than not came out with the ball.
  • He was one of those players who if you were in trouble you could pass the ball to, and he would get you ‘out of jail’.
  • For those who played against him he was a formidable competitor.
  • Can you picture his ‘dummy’, looking one way and passing the other, rarely seen on grass even if familiar today on astroturf, and his chuckle when he sold someone that ‘dummy’
  • Tony was, after all, a long serving and loyal servant of the club.

Although regarded in recent years by older BSHC members as a bit of a recluse, we all share happy memories of time spent with Tony on the pitch at Cricketfield Lane in front of the Pavilion; time spent at the bar in the then new Charles Edwards Pavilion; and occasional social excesses in the town and ‘on tour’.

Claire Shillito

Claire joined the club when she was 13 and we were running 5 ladies teams on a regular basis.

Initially, living in Saffron Walden, relying on her Dad for transport, we were fortunate that she got to love the club and her team mates (mostly). We were also fortunate that she kept her allegiance to the hockey club as she was a keen very able footballer playing county level for Essex on a regular basis.]Claire started in the 3rd XI and gradually progressed to play 1st XI hockey. A valuable team member, reliable, loyal, enthusiastic and she was versatile in that she could play both up front or midfield.

Her nickname “Thumper”, yes she got that as you might guess with the name. An opposing player was very stroppy, lashing out with her fist, Claire managed to defend her teammate beautifully and none of us let her forget it.

Her 3 children Lily, Megan and Jack, with husband Mark and the shift work laterly at Stansted Airport called for a lot of juggling to enable her to play regularly and Claire managed this very successfully.

On her fun and humour side, socially she scored a 10/10. She was a top tourer.

Always up for whatever was going on. A cheeky mischievous smile always able to bring fun to the game or a social event.

Claire’s membership spanned 31 years.

Everybody loved Claire she mixed well with all players and whomever she met.

We already miss her.

Belinda Appleby