A day held in memory of a “phenomenal” player from Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club will see past, present and future players unite.
Teaching assistant and long-standing member Claire Heley, pictured, died of cancer in December at just 48 years old.
On Sunday, September 8, the club will pay tribute to the woman who played in the first team for over 25 seasons for ladies firsts, mixed, vets and indoor sides during her 30 year stint.
And the money raised on the day will be split between Cancer Research and the club.
Claire’s husband, Peter Gale, said: “Although she was modest about her own ability she was player of the year on quite a few occasions and greatly enjoyed the club’s success in the run of promotions that took the ladies 1sts from the Five Counties league up to Division 1 of the Midlands League. She started junior coaching when she was still playing for the 1sts, and she kept coaching the juniors when she stopped playing.
“However she was often tempted to come back and play; in fact in her last game for the club was in October last year, two months before she died, she scored two in a win for the ladies 5ths. Claire also had a particularly good tournament which included getting the better of a former England captain. Although she was very proud to become a life member I think she was prouder still of the junior teams and players that she coached and was always interested to hear about how the children were doing both in hockey and in life away from the hockey pitch.”
The theme of the day is to not only celebrate Claire’s contribution,but also that of the president, Peter Crisp, who has been with the club for over 50 years.
Chairman, Matt Rust, said: “Peter Crisp has been a fantastic servant as a player and official continuing as President and also serving on the committee Leighton linslade sports partnership.
“His wise counsel is invaluable as the club seeks to maintain its place in Leighton Buzzard for years to come.”
Vice chair, Steve Farrell, said: “He is the epitome of the perfect club man. Over the years he has fulfilled a number of posts in the club and it is due to his and other members of his generation that the club in the ’70s began to grow and has grown over the years.
“As president he could just sit back and bask in the glory of his past achievements but he doesn’t he is still actively engaged in promoting the club in the town. He is that essential lynch pin that a club needs; always there to offer the wise words of support.
> The September 8 event is from 10am to 3pm. Watch hockey action and find out how to become a member. Also BBQ, refreshments, raffle and activities.