LEIGHTON: Margaret

Died 11 July 2014, aged 85: Inspirational sportswoman Margaret Leighton, of Sandal, a past president and former leading player for Wakefield Hockey Club whose website includes an appreciation of Margaret and the contribution she made. A grandmother, she was the wife of Geoff, well known for his successful campaigning for a 30mph speed limit reminder on Barnsley Road. The hockey club website says: Wakefield Hockey Club is sad to report the passing of Margaret Leighton after 85 glorious years, a stalwart of the club for many years. Margaret joined Wakefield Women’s Hockey club in the 1959/60 season, where they played behind the old Empire Stores on Horbury Road. This was before they played at Blenheim Road on the grass pitches belonging to the Wakefield Girls High School. The Ladies and Men’s hockey clubs became one in 1998, which was based at the College Grove site where the Astroturf pitches are today. Margaret played for many years and captained the first team for several years. She was instrumental in encouraging Maggie Souyave to develop her skills in the club which led to selection and captaincy of the Great Britain side. Older players will remember Margaret as a traditional fullback, especially during the years when her sister Jean played centre-forward. The number of goals created and scored by the duo was phenomenal. She was selected to play for Yorkshire, which added to her Kent ‘cap’ achieved earlier in her career, and did play for England B before starting her family with husband Geoff.  Margaret, who was head of Physical Education at The Girls High School, was intimately involved in schoolgirl hockey in Wakefield and also the Yorkshire schoolgirls, associated as it was then. Her coaching ability, enthusiasm and leadership were exceptional. She was a registered coach, coaching at County, Club and schoolgirl level, and was also a County and North selector and West Yorkshire Schoolgirls President. Margaret was honoured to be elected President of the Women’s Club, a position she held for 10 years, including a special year when Geoff was also President of the Men’s club. As an ex-President and Honorary life member of Wakefield Hockey Club, she still enjoyed visiting the club, especially to watch her son and grandsons play. Margaret remained a member of Yorkshire Hockey Association and still kept contact with Dartford College where she attended as a student with the honour of being the top Physical Education Student in her year, in the whole of the Country. Margaret will be a great loss to Wakefield Hockey Club, to both young and old, and will be remembered as a great contributor to hockey in Wakefield and Yorkshire.

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