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Last week was a sad one for English Hockey with not only the death of Julia Gill but also of Peter Lambert and John Whitehead, two of England’s former international umpires who both passed away on the same day (Oct 3).

Lambert sadly lost a battle with cancer, Whitehead, apparently in good health, collapsed suddenly at home and died in hospital after an aortic dissection.

Lambert, formerly a banker, will always be associated with the City of Peterborough Hockey Club.
A goalkeeper in his playing days, he became a highly successful and well respected umpire.
He gained his international umpiring badge in March 1990 and umpired seven senior internationals.
After retiring from umpiring in 1995, he became an FIH Umpires Manager up until 2006.
He was manager of the  Peterborough Town Sports Club and manager of the club’s first and other teams.
He will be remembered with enormous affection by all who encountered him.

John Harvey “Willy” Whitehead was a more self contained personality though equally opinionated.
The highpoint of his umpiring career was the European Cup at Madrid in 1974. He took up umpiring while studying at Oxford University, joined the SCHUA (Southern Counties) and made his international umpiring debut officiating at Wales v Scotland at Edinburgh in 1973. It was after umpiring four matches at the 1974 European Cup that he was awarded his international badge.

John was an electrical engineer whose scientific work in manufacturing started with involvement in the earliest black and white tv’s led to involvement in silicon chips and micro circuitry, for use in such things as pace-makers and sophisticated military equipment. He worked most of his life for Mullards.

A scholarship student at Kings School in Worcester, Whitehead had a long association with Oxford. He was born there in May 1931, started is education at New College School, went from King’s to study natural sciences at New College, played as a goalkeeper for Oxford University 2nds, Oxford Hawks, and was a regular and well respected umpire at the Oxford Schools Festival.

After moving home from Wallington (Surrey) to Cambridgeshire, he joined Royston Hockey Club, continued umpiring and became well known and highly respected umpiring coach and assessor.

Whitehead whose other great love was cricket, received a Hockey Association President’s Certificate of Commendation.

He was married to Margaret in 1965 after meeting on a blind date at a sports club function. They had two children, Lynne and Mark.

A service for John Whitehead will take place in the West Chapel of Cambridge Crematorium, Huntingdon Rd, Cambridge CB3 0JJ, on Monday 15thOctober at 12 noon.

Lambert’s funeral is expected to be about a week later.

The EHF takes the opportunity to pass on their condolences to the families of Julia, Peter and John.

Source: Pat Rowley