THE END OF AN ERA.
Barbara Miroy, a person who almost single-handedly ran English men’s hockey for many years, died on 30th November at the age of 91.
She out-lived Nevill, her husband and an equally prominent servant of the game, by 21 years.
Barbara was heavily involved in hockey for over 50 years. She will be best remembered for three things: being secretary and later personal assistant to two former Hockey Association Hon. Secretaries; for organising for countless years the world famous Folkestone Easter Hockey Festival and for running the London and Home Counties Hockey Fixture Conference.
She was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal when it was recorded “She holds a unique position in the administration of men’s hockey in England. She has given unstintingly of her time and energy to a sport in which she is totally involved and to which she is utterly devoted”.
Robin Struthers, the then Hon. Secretary of the Hockey Association, was quoted as saying, “She is a walking encyclopaedia of hockey”.
Her health had been deteriorating for some time. Last week she had a fall at home and broke her hip. It was necessary to operate but unfortunately she survived only a short time after the operation.
Barbara’s funeral will be at Woking Crematorium, Hermitage Road, St John's, Woking GU21 8TJ on Thursday 15th December at 11.45. Family flowers only. Donations to Guide Dogs for the Blind, c/o Lodge Bros, Funeral Directors, 7 Windsor Street, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 8AY.
Her life in hockey covered 60 years as the game went from truly amateur to nearly professional.
She was first involved in her early teens as assistant to her father,”Waggy” Wagstaff, former match secretary of the Hockey Association and manager of the Folkestone Easter Hockey Festival.
The 39-45 war years saw her father evacuated but Barbara stayed at home to attend to the telephone messages resulting from the umpiring appointments her father had made. When there were the inevitable drop-outs, the first available man on weekend leave was offered the appointment. “Waggy” also raised HA teams to play the services and it was Barbara who did the admin.
She also took it upon herself to take on the complete organisation of the Folkestone Festival and 18 teams, some from the services, turned up in 1940. It was at this festival that year that Barbara met Nevill Miroy, a young umpire whom she was to marry.
It was during the war that players home on leave and looking for a game wanted somewhere to contact. So was born the Fixture Bureau which was later incorporated into the London and Home Counties Fixture Conference which had started in the 30’s. Barbara was soon elected secretary of that organisation and for countless years, thousands of players benefited from being sure to get a game every week thanks to her thoroughness. Her work continued even when the first leagues were introduced.
The (England) Hockey Association elected her their first full time secretary in 1964.
Virtually single-handed she organised the one and only “pre-Olympic” tournament in 1967. It was the only pre-Olympic event because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) objected to anyone but themselves incorporating the word “Olympic” into any sports title.
Outside of the Olympic Games themselves, this 1967 tournament was probably the first of the big ones. World and continental cups were to follow.
The work at the Hockey Association became too big for one man and his girl and Barbara was invited to be a professional and attend the office three days a week.
She first worked under Robin Struthers and later became personal assistant to Colonel Dennis Eagan.
The game of hockey owes her an enormous debt.
– Patrick Rowley
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