Adrian Greenwood

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Friday 12 September 2008 marked the end of an era for Sevenoaks hockey club on the death of its much loved and widely respected President, Adrian Greenwood.

Adrian first joined the club, aged 21, in 1951. Between 1952 and 2008 he served the club in one capacity or another for all but 2 years – a record that is unlikely to be matched. Adrian was Team Secretary for 7 years from 1952 to 1959, a period during which he was also vice captain of the 2nd XI for 3 years. For 12 of the next 14 years he was on the General Committee; for 4 of those years he was the club's secretary. In 1973 he became the Club Captain, a role which he undertook for 20 years until 1993, when he became President – a post which he still occupied at the time of his death.

Adrian was also the club's historian. He spent many hours at the Vine keeping an unrivalled set of club records with details of teams, results, goal scorers and press reports. He also spent many hours at the offices of the Chronicle researching the details of matches played before his time in order to put together as complete a record as possible.

Recognition of Adrian's outstanding contribution to Sevenoaks hockey club was marked in the presentation to him of a Torch Trophy Trust Award which was presented to him by the Duke of York.

But these are the dry facts which do not do justice to the memory of friendly, helpful and extraordinary man. Adrian was almost unique in volunteering terms – a rare, selfless individual who spent his life serving others in a cause he was passionate about. He was an ever present and welcoming figure at the Vine during the hockey season, always well dressed in a blazer and tie. When his playing days came to an end he umpired both men's and ladies' sides, a task for which he always wore his trademark white gloves. In his younger days he would willingly ferry people around. He loved and was part of the bonhomie and banter that comes from being part of a sports club. He was also very supportive of junior and new members of the club, and was always ready to provide insightful advice and wisdom. He will be remembered by all as only ever driving a Jag, smoking with a long cigarette holder, and drinking gin and tonic.

At all times Adrian always insisted on doing things the right way. Apart from his dress and unfailing good manners, this ranged from the tiny details such as recording the correct initials for players on his hand written team sheets to his determination to offer a personal welcome to all visiting teams at the Veterans Festival. A typical example was that, after the Men's 1st XI had just pipped Chichester in a promotion deciding match to reach the National League, Adrian wrote personally (longhand of course) to the President of Chichester Hockey Club to compliment that club on their sportsmanship and gracious hospitality even in defeat. He would have expected the same from Sevenoaks.

But Adrian was not a man stuck in the past. He had a gift for living in the present and being fully prepared for the future. Adrian was always keen to understand what the club's development options were and to make sure that it had set its sights high enough. His unfailing confidence was a secret ingredient in the success of the whole Club during his time as President.

Some measure of the high esteem in which Adrian was held can be seen from an email which former men's 1st XI captain Tim Smith sent to the current 1st team squad on the day that Adrian died. It reads as follows:

"To me, Adrian was the club. He was a permanent fixture of the Vine and to my mind the greatest supporter of hockey Sevenoaks has ever seen and indeed is ever likely to. To many of us, he was the person who made playing at Sevenoaks unique and made you feel that you were part of a club with history. As such you don't just play at Oaks, you form part of its legacy.
When you step in to the Vine, you are entering Adrian's shrine. I have played at Oaks for almost twenty years and he was the most consistent and truest flag bearer for the club. Week on week, year on year Adrian has recorded every result at the club, for every team. It is something I have never seen at any club anywhere else. But more than this he was our beloved President. He was the man.
He encouraged me personally as he has pretty much every single player at Sevenoaks from one time or another. He was someone to share a joke with ... and a gin and tonic.
If you knew him I am sure you will always remember him, especially when you put on the purple shirt. If you didn't, be sure to ask about him because every time you do play, you'll be forming part of his legacy.
A true gentlemen. A true legend."



Simon Slater (SA)
Like everyone, I have some fond memories of bar chats with Adrian and really enjoyed the pride and devotion he had for the club.

Keith Longley
I wholeheartedly agree and endorse Tim's excellent summary. Adrian was what made our club different - a pride, culture and heritage that few other clubs will ever rival. He will be sadly missed.

Isabel Platt
A very helpful, genuine, caring person who was passionate about the club and the people in it. He had time for everyone and most importantly, helped people to recognise themselves and to be proud of themselves. The place will not be the same without him.

Martin Platt
One story springs to mind....when as a new captain, I attempted to fill out, unaided, Adrian's dreaded team sheet, I got it totally wrong and when he returned to the bar and asked who had done it, I proudly said "me"; to which he looked me straight in the eye and said "you stupid boy!!". I will miss his humour.

Lisa Boldrini
My sincerest condolences to you all at Sevenoaks. Having shared a G+T with the great man myself I can understand how much such a great character will be sorely missed. He was one of a kind for sure. I feel honoured to also now be part of his legacy. If others come forward to help and support their clubs half as much as Adrian did then hockey will last forever. A life fulfilled with many friends. He will be missed. xx

Nina Rawlins VP & Ken Rawlins
Adrian was certainly a true gentleman in every sense of the word and always had a cheerful word of greeting on your arrival in the club. He was notorious for his G & T's and going back a few years we would close the bar shutters and one or two of us would have a late drink and chat behind the bar. When Adrian said one for the road it wasn't long before you realised the road could be very long and several drinks for the road later we would go our separate ways!! As a long standing member of the club I can certainly say that I will miss him greatly on my visits to the Vine. The place will not be the same without him, but I know he would wish us all to continue with life at the club and have a G & T for him and his loyal following of the activities of Sevenoaks Hockey Club. Here's to his memory God Bless him.

Peter Worrall (KHUA)
Hockey has lost a great servant. The like of Adrian is not often seen in the game these days. I remember umpiring with Adrian at Sevenoaks early in my umpiring career in the early seventies. A great loss but I am sure he will be fondly remembered by those who knew him.

Ignace & Nuala van Kan
A great sportsman for sure but also a most caring neighbour to us. May he rest in peace.

Mark Everard (NPUA)
I have just read about the sad passing of your President, could you please pass on my sincere condolences to everyone at the club at this sad time.

Julie Nicholson
Adrian strived to ensure that our Club maintained its integrity and sportsmanship and it is up to us as fortunate Members to uphold these values. I shall keep many fond memories of such a lovely gentleman.

David South, Chairman Holcombe HC
Adrian will be sorely missed by myself and all at Holcombe HC. He was greatly respected and guided Sevenoaks HC to the pinnacle of hockey - both Men & Women. A true Ambassador for our sport.

Maggie Harriott
To do what matters in life is one of life's great achievements. Some people dedicate their whole life to a cause and Adrain did just that.He has become the patriarch of the Hockey Club and his legend will endure. He taught me a lot about the etiquette of Club Matters. I will miss him.

Gordon Hewlett - Letchworth HC
We were all saddened to hear of Adrian's passing. Sadly, clubmen like him come along only once in a generation. At Letchworth we lost our stalwart "H" some years ago so we know only too well the void that Adrian's passing will leave in your club - so treasure the memories and maintain the unique spirit that the Vine has, that way Adrian will always be with you.

Chris Welton, Hillsiders HC
Please pass on the condolences of Hillsiders to the family. A lovely man Regards Chris Welton

Ali and all the Cheeky Monkeys
On behalf of the Cheeky Monkeys, can you please pass our condolances on to Adrian's family and all his friends at Sevenoaks Hockey Club on this very sad news. He always made us feel very welcome when we arrived at the festival, he certainly epitomised all that is special about your club, and he certainly semed to enjoy his time at the Vets weekend!! He will be sorely missed. X

Eric Evans - Beer Engines
Please accept my personal condolances and those of all that have played in the team over the years. Adian was always the first person you saw when entering the club and someone who will be sorely missed at next years festival.

Peter Wright, Chairman, Old Williamsonian Hockey Club
On behalf of the OWHC, and the wider community of Club hockey in Kent, please accept my condolences for the loss of your President and inspiration. Our (mostly) amateur sport needs the selfless work of individuals such as Adrian Greenwood.

Jeff Dornan (The Fighting Haddocks)
Adrian welcomed us from the moment we arrived on our first visit. He allowed us to fly our Canadian Flag over the Club on that first weekend seven (?) years ago, and always forgave us our irreverence and general lack of reserve and decorum. A good man, who will be missed by many. On behalf of all the Canadians who have joined our traveling troupe over the years, I say to Adrian "Happy Trails".

Chiswick Old Birds
I and the rest of the girls from "Chiswick Old Birds" who often attend the vets tournament held at Sevenoaks on the May Bank holiday will miss Adrian. He was so unique and interesting.

Outaouais Fighting Haddocks
He graciously allowed us to fly our flag even over your own when we first visited your festival. He welcomed each of us personally and made us feel at home. He spoke softly and everyone listened. Because of his dedication your names and our names will live on in the history books of your club. From across the pond we offer our deep condolences to his family and to his Sevenoaks Hockey Club extended family.