Hockey club pays tribute to its former president

Members of Wilmslow Hockey Club have paid tribute to Jim Barrow, Honorary Life President and the driving force behind Wilmslow Hockey Club for so many years who passed away peacefully last week.

Martin Stocker, Secretary of Wilmslow Hockey Club, said "Jim was instrumental in the creation of Wilmslow Hockey Club as we know it today and was involved for many years in the development of the sport in the North West. He was the driving force behind the building of the astro pitch at Oakwood Farm on Styal Road which transformed the fortunes of the club and started the journey that has seen the club have so much success in recent years. Ironically, he passed away the day after Wilmslow Mens 1s won the Cheshire Hockey Association Plate, an event which would have delighted him.

"He was a force of nature, challenging, perceptive but always passionate about hockey."

Jim, a life long resident of Wilmslow, passed away at the age of 86 leaving his wife Pat and one son. He was recognised on the Queen's New Year Honours list in 2014 when he received a British Empire Medal for services to hockey, having been associated with hockey since he was about 15 years old and a member of Wilmslow Hockey Club since the late 1950s.

He took the position of Club Secretary and first team captain, before later becoming chairman, and in due course president. When WHC moved to its present location of Oakwood Farm in Styal in 1980, Jim was instrumental in the laying and preparation of new hockey pitches and in the construction of a purpose-built clubhouse.

In 1980 he masterminded the formation of Wilmslow Phoenix Sports Club (WPSC) as the parent club to oversee the running of the sports ground. In 1995 he secured a National Lottery grant to construct new changing rooms and he self-funded the building of an Astroturf pitch.

Turning his attention to extending the clubhouse to accommodate the increasing membership, in 2009 he oversaw its refurbishment, securing funding and grants from a raft of different organisations, and co-ordinating the difficult period of destruction and re-construction.

Speaking about being awarded a British Empire Medal in 2014, Jim told "I was very surprised, I am delighted and also very proud."

Steve Kinsella, President of Wilmslow Hockey Club said "Jim has worked tirelessly for 60 years developing sport in the Wilmslow area. He also served as Chairman of Cheshire Hockey Association.His legacies are the development of Wilmslow Phoenix Sports Club and the tremendous on field success of Wilmslow Hockey Club."

Martin Stocker added "He will be much missed by members of Wilmslow Hockey Club and the wider hockey community in the area."