I am sorry to inform you that Graham Seaton, an SUBHC committee member, player and umpire for over forty years, died yesterday in The Royal Hospital, Chesterfield. He was being treated for cancer of the bone marrow and was typically upbeat about his prognosis and treatment. He slipped and fell last Saturday and never fully regained consciousness. He died peacefully with his family there yesterday morning, Thursday September 20th. I will forward funeral arrangements when I have the details. Graham had been unwell for some time and had faced considerable difficulties with his usual fortitude and joie de vivre, but the effects of the fall had proved too much. He will be sadly missed by all in the hockey community and beyond. It is fitting that I reproduce below the nomination for Graham to be the EHA Club Umpire of the Year in 2015. He duly won this prestigious award and said on the evening of the presentation at the Madejski stadium that “this is beyond doubt the biggest and proudest moment of my hockey career.” I saw myself a troupe of GB internationals, elite umpires and top officials all congratulating Graham on the award and he was beaming with pride; an image that will always stay with me.
Graham Seaton, fixtures and umpire secretary at Sheffield University Bankers, has umpired for over forty years whilst still playing himself in the 70s and 80s. When injuries brought about his player retirement he took up the whistle in earnest. He estimates that he has umpired well over 1900 games. In the several where I was playing he got decisions right, allowed the game to flow, and punished miscreants appropriately and fairly. He is well liked and highly regarded across the county, both female and male players. In all of this time he only issued one red card, a testament to his understanding, empathy and authority. When SUBHC merged with the University of Sheffield in 1999 he began to umpire 2-3 Wednesday “uni” Games during term time, in addition to 2-3 Saturday/Sunday games during the season. In summer he regularly umpires 2-3 games per week in the local summer league. He was in the neutral schemes for Yorkshire but left as he was able only to umpire one game per week…not enough! He has umpired me in games ranging from 1st team (North Premier League but friendlies only) to 10th team, and this is a major point…if an umpire is needed Graham will volunteer, whatever the level, and , often at short notice, travel across the county to help the club fulfil a particular fixture. He has also served for several years on the Yorkshire HA committee, being the divisional rep for the Premier League.
For the last ten years he has also been our club’s Fixtures Secretary and consequently arranges all fixtures, venues, times and umpires…even down to the number of teas required along with vegetarian numbers! When he was teaching he encouraged many pupils to take up hockey, and many did so, with several reaching the higher teams and representing the club at county level. One even managed to become England over 40 GK for a number of years.
Graham would be an excellent choice for this award as he has given so much to Yorkshire hockey in general and SUBHC in particular. He would be delighted and honoured to receive such recognition (not that he knows about this nomination!) Best wishes Ray Everitt President YHA Former chair and President of SUBHC