An unexpected phone call reached John Holbrook recently. It was from the chief executive of England Hockey to advise him that he had been successfully nominated for an award for services to the game. The presentation was made digitally by video link on June 5 with the citation celebrating his contribution:
“In 1990, John, a long-standing goalkeeper and umpire for Barnes Hockey Club, saw the need for a 3rd XI men’s league in Surrey to enable more people to participate in competitive hockey… and an independent league was set up with John at the helm”.
Over the past 30 years, the league has evolved to its present size of six divisions and 65 teams and ”we estimate that, thanks to John there have been around 20,000 matches of hockey played in Surrey that might not have otherwise taken place.”
John Holbrook said: “I started playing hockey at school, aged 12 in 1945, then at King Edward’s Naval College, followed by the Royal Navy and Surrey County and other clubs.“ He was made an honorary member of the Hockey Umpires Association in 1999 and continued to umpire for Surrey every Saturday morning until 2010.
John Holbrook lives in Rye with his wife Margaret and he will be known to many for a number of roles he has played in local voluntary organisations.
He is treasurer of the country market that is held, in normal times, each Friday morning at the Community Centre on Conduit Hill and he has been involved in fund-raising for the Playden W.I through organising and cooking for up to 70 people for their curry and quiz evenings, helping to raise over £1,000 in the past three to four years. He is also chairman of the Rye Film Club and for many years he chaired the local award-making panel for the Rye Fund.
Image Credits: Margaret Holbrook , Kenneth Bird .