Brian Oram

England Hockey is sad to report that Brian Oram, a longstanding coach, umpire, player and volunteer, passed away on Monday 2 December following a long and brave battle with illness.

His long and varied hockey life can be traced back to his Navy days where he joined Fareham HC, and in 1971-72 he coached Dorset County. It's in the North East though where his contribution to hockey will be most remembered. He was a goalkeeper in the mid-1970s firstly with Sunderland and then with Norton, and managed and coached with great success at both full and U21 levels, as well as coach to the North U21s. In 1991-92 Brian became the Durham County manager and led the team into the first non-regionalised County Championships, where a very young Durham team won all three games at Bournemouth before losing 2-1 to Yorkshire in the Quarter Finals at St. Albans.

Brian’s personality was ideally suited to working with young players, and in 1996 he became coach to Durham University Men’s 1st X1, leading the team to an HA Trophy semi-final and promotion to Division One (now Premier) of the North Hockey League, laying the foundations for continued success. As one former player put it on Tuesday:

"I loved playing under Brian. He brought a sense of professionalism to coaching the team and definitely started the process which has ended up with the position hockey at Durham is in today”.

Brian had a long-standing interest in indoor hockey both locally and regionally. He coached the North U21s and was very proactive in establishing Peterlee Leisure Centre as an indoor centre. He was a highly competent umpire both indoors and outdoors and was a Vice President of Northumberland & Durham HUA, and a former President of Durham County HA. In recent years, Brian became an England Hockey match official, both at tournaments and within the Men’s and Women’s Leagues, gaining great respect from umpires, managers and players alike. He was also a volunteer, as Pitch Manager, at the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Manchester in 2007.

Away from hockey Brian had a wide range of interests, including rambling & walking. He also worked as a volunteer driver for social services in Peterlee.

His contribution to the sport, locally, regionally and nationally was immense, and the thoughts of everyone in hockey will be with Vanessa and the family.