Saturday, May 25, 2024

‘A true gentleman’: Wakefield Hockey Club pay tribute to Geoff Leighton

Geoff Leighton had been a member of Wakefield Hockey Club for over 60 years joining in 1960 and was the oldest member of the club and the last remaining member of the original Sandal Hockey Club.

He played the majority of his hockey as a hard-hitting fullback in the 3rd, 4th and 6th teams and was a keen member of the master’s side, then known as the veteran’s team.

He instigated an annual veteran’s fixture with York Hockey Club on the days of grass hockey, travelling in Jack Whites minibus, so the majority of the team could enjoy the hospitality of York. He was a dedicated club member both on and off the field and became a life member of the hockey section to recognise his contribution to the club.

Geoff captained the third team from 1965 to 1972 and also captained the fourth team from 1974 to 1975. He became President of the Men’s section in 1983, a unique situation as his wife Margaret was President of the Ladies Club (Wakefield Women’s Hockey Club) during the same years.

He retired from playing in 1996 at the age of 67 and became a keen supporter of the Men’s performance squads, initially to watch his grandsons Thomas and Robert. He was often seen at the club until April 2023, supporting his son Peter, which followed with his mandatory pint of beer or three with his bag of nuts or scratchings, perched on a bar stool in the corner of what was the lounge bar.

In 1964 Geoff helped organise the clubs 6’s tournament with Keith Orrell and John Holt which were held on the grass pitches and later instigated the Veteran 7’s tournament in 1977 that his son Peter controlled with Steve Wood. He designed and manufactured a ‘Ducking Stool’ in 1973 which was hired out to external organisations, with hire fees contributing to the running of the hockey club.

He also actively supported Philip Entwistle in the famous ‘War Time shows’ in the early 70’s, creating staging, lighting, props and participating. An excellent social event, which repeated for about five years. Other star performers being Peter Bolton and Norman Hughes.

A sponsored dribble for the junior members (before there was a junior section) of the club, was also organised by Geoff in the early 70’s. Geoff was treasurer of the sports club in the 70’s where he helped organise sports club social and fund raising events including ‘Donkey Derby’s’ and ‘Miss World competitions’. (which were for male entrants only)

Geoff helped organise (with Bob Craven) and took his family to the annual Bridlington festival over the Easter period from 1968 to 1974 and later participated in the trips to Guernsey in 1973 and 1974 which Colin Moir organised.

Geoff has always supported his family in the hockey world and there was a unique occasion one Christmas when he played on the same team as his son and grandsons. He was involved in the Junior Muiderburg exchanges where he made friends and also accompanied his son and grandsons to Muiderburg in Holland for the exchange in 2001. Photos above.

A gentleman that will be truly missed.

Total Hockey

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