Nancy Tomkins - Guardian journalist

Nancy Tomkins, women's hockey correspondent for the Guardian, passed away last month at the age of 98.

Matthew Engel, a friend and former colleague of Nancy's wrote this about the much loved journalist who did a huge amount for women's hockey:

My friend and former colleague Nancy Tomkins was the women's hockey correspondent of the Guardian from 1965 to 1984. She took over from Marjorie Pollard, who had done the job for 40 years and was also one of the game's greatest players.

Nancy was never that. But the mostly brief pieces she wrote for the paper – which got briefer as subeditors became increasingly bored with participatory or "minor" sports – rarely did justice to the qualities she did have. She was an erudite, accomplished and charming woman.

Within hockey, she was greatly respected for her knowledge: she was a county player – first turning out for the Middlesex junior reserves in the 1930-31 season, and described by contemporaries as "seriously competitive" – a globetrotting coach and an administrator before concentrating on writing. Her last and most significant main contribution was to write The Century Makers, the 1995 centenary history of the All England Women's Hockey Association, which is a model of its kind – not least for its sense of social history and the sharpness of the comment.

Before that, she served for 40 years on the magazine Hockey Field; the 20 on the Guardian were followed by a stint on the Daily Telegraph, which had dangled the possibility of extra space. "Biggest mistake I ever made," she said. "The Guardian was much nicer." She was very much a Guardian person: a staunch, old-fashioned Liberal.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Footnote: Her funeral service took place at Hereford Crematorium on 16 Jan 2013.

A Memorial Service will be held at 12.00 noon on Saturday 9th February at St Mary’s Church, Walterstone, Hereford.

Patrick Rowley also wrote an obituary about Nancy, please click here to read this on the Hockey Archives website.