George Croft.1936-2012.

George Croft.1936-2012.

Fitting farewell to Mr Rules Board. By Patrick Rowley.

There was a huge turn out for the cremation of George Croft, the former long-serving Honorary Secretary of the Hockey Rules Board, on April 17.

Around 250 people attended, so many that people even had to stand behind the altar at Randalls Park Crematorium in Leatherhead.

Kenneth George Downton Croft, “George” to everyone in hockey, died at the age of 75 and the celebration of his life was fitting for one of the most popular people in English hockey.

The tribute was made by Sir Michael Graydon, his life long friend and former schoolmate. Graydon described George as “a man of integrity and honour, straight, honest and caring, with a lovely sense of humour”. It summed up the man.

George was secretary of the Hockey Rules Board for 30 years, from 1970-2000. He oversaw major changes in the rules. He was always prepared to take into account the views of players and officials from every corner of the world.

He went into the role with the right pedigree, succeeding Mark Cowlishaw whose secretary was none other than his wife, Lyn whom he married in 1967.
George’s playing ability was never on a par with that of his older brother Peter, an Olympian, but they were a formidable pair for Surbiton and Surrey.

George who was educated at Greshams which led to a lifelong love of Norfolk, loved administering and served the game in a multitude of official capacities. He was a member of several FIH (International Hockey Federation) committees and deservedly received the FIH Award of Merit. He attended five Olympic Games in various official capacities.

In England, he was the first Chairman of their Technical Committee.
He was a president and Chairman of Surrey County and a Life Vice President of his club Surbiton.

Sadly George, a livelong supporter of Arsenal, died on March 31, having stoically survived Parkinson’s disease for around 20 years and pneumonia two years ago.

Only a few days before his death he came in a wheel chair to Surbiton Hockey Club to watch their last match of the season and everyone in the pavilion stood to acknowledge his presence.

Our thoughts are with his wife Lyn and their children, Richard and David.

Patrick Rowley.