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 died on the same day (Oct 3).

Peter Lambert sadly lost a battle with cancer, Whitehead, apparently in good health, collapsed suddenly at home and died in hospital. He was thought to have suffered a brain aneurism. 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. He was originally a Southern Counties umpire and was selected by England to umpire a Wales v Scotland  international and then umpired four matches at the 1974 European Cup in Madrid after which he received his international badge. John was an electrical engineer whose work in manufacturing started with being involved in the earliest black and white tv’s and advanced to pacemaker chips.  Whitehead, educated at Kings School in Worcester, had a long association with Oxford. He was born there in May 1931, studied at New College, played for Oxford Hawks, and was a regular  and well respected umpire at the Oxford Schools Festival.  After moving from Wallington in Surrey to Cambridgeshire, he joined Royston Hockey Club, continued umpiring and became well known as an umpiring coach and assessor. He admits to having met his future wife, Margaret on a blind date. They were married in 1965 and had  two children, Lynne and Mark.  Whitehead whose other great love was cricket, received a Hockey Association President’s Certificate of Commendation.

 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 will take place on 24th October, with details likely to appear on the England Hockey website.
The International Hockey Federation sends it condolences to the family and friends of Peter and John.