Remembering W. J. (Bill) Colwill
W. J. (Bill) COLWILL
15 October 1930 – 13 November 2016
I first met Bill after I had taken over the production of the Hockey Digest magazine (as it then was) later to be renamed Hockey Sport. As a member of Harrow Hockey Club I had been a subscriber for a few years. Neville Miroy, who founded Hockey Digest, wanted to sell the title and he had advertised this in an edition of the magazine. Perhaps without thinking too deeply I stepped forward and suddenly found that I was editor, and owner, of Hockey Digest.
Neville told the readership of the change and very soon, one of the first telephone calls I received was from Bill. Two things: would I like to join the Hockey Writers' Club, and, more importantly, did I want any help with my new acquisition?
The answer to both questions was a very definite 'Yes' and it was no time at all before an editorial 'board' was formed consisting of Bill, Chris Moore and me. We met monthly at a local pub and the know-how and assistance which Bill, together with Chris, gave me, together with the articles they contributed to the venture, helped so much in the early days of my editorship.
Bill's help did not stop there. I suddenly found myself running a magazine which took in reporting of all levels of hockey: from club to international level, and as a top umpire Bill knew the hockey scene like no other. His interest was invaluable.
And Bill was very generous in other ways. For the Europeans, would I like a lift to Italy, to Holland, to Germany? I accepted his friendly offers and enjoyed many trips with him and Jean, as well as the meals that we enjoyed after the matches, in the evenings.
One aspect of Hockey Digest that Bill was particularly helpful with was with my photography. Bill had his newspaper experience to advise me. I was a keen photographer but now, with a magazine which would need pictures to make the pages more interesting I became the magazine's snapper – a rather different ball game – and Bill's advice together with his introductions to other photographers whom he knew, were again, priceless to me.
Bill's invitation to join the Hockey Writers' Club was also a turning point in my new career. Moving now in circles which included the likes of Chris Moore, Sydney Friskin, Pat Rowley and Pat Ward pointed my thinking along the right lines and all those last named were a great help in getting the magazine out each month.
I ran Hockey Sport for 20 years. I visited clubs all around England, venues all around Europe and four Olympic venues. Bill was ever-present at nearly all of them. I could not have asked for a better friend for such a large chunk of my life.
16 November 2016
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