Tributes have been paid to “beloved friend” and hockey coach Ben Dudley after he passed away last week after a long battle with illness.
At his final game with University of Bristol men at Canterbury earlier this month, Ben had told his team after a 4-0 loss: “Boys, don’t be sad it’s over, smile because it happened.”
In 2018, Ben shared how he had been given a cancer diagnosis the day before his son was born.
After a scan, he revealed that he had to wait until the radiation left his body before being able to see his wife and newborn.
“I didn’t really think about what I had at that time because what was going on with Ruben was just so amazing,” the former England Under-18 said at the time.
He later set up a JustGiving page to help pay for Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment. Needing to raise £10,000, donations flooded in and he raised over £21,000.
In a statement at the weekend, University of Bristol Men’s Hockey Club said: “A true inspiration and image of determination, Ben will have left his mark on the hockey world that will last indefinitely.
“Ben walked through the doors over six years ago and it is through his dedication and devotion to the teams he has coached that we have managed to continually outperform ourselves.”
A well-known figure at clubs and in coaching circles across the west country, Jon Bower said: “One of hockey’s greats with much more to offer – his legacy will last forever – an example of his commitment was last off the pitch in horrendous weather but with a smile.”
Taunton Vale HC posted on Twitter: “TVHC are deeply saddened to learn the passing of Ben Dudley. A true gent, a fantastic hockey coach, a role model to hockey, but beyond all, a fantastic person.”