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Sad passing of former club President Guy Meyers

Following the euphoria of the exceptional end of season results, the Club has learned this weekend the very sad news of the unexpected death of Guy Mayers on 28 April 2019 in Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, where his family was with him.

Guy will be membered by Club members for many things, including his immediate past Presidency, as a former Treasurer and Committee member, team captaincy, goalscoring, representation for England LX, fund raising co-ordination for the Carlton Tavern, liaison with the more infirm past players and members, his energy and general wise counsel and, of course, his moving tribute to Peter Boizot in the recent memorial service at Peterborough Cathedral.

 

Guy was elected a member of Hampstead HC on 13 December 1963 and played initially for the 3rd XI. He was appointed vice-captain of the team at the end of his first season at the AGM held on 3 April 1964.

However, his skills as a chartered accountant quickly became more important to the Club and he joined the Committee and was elected Treasurer in March 1965, a post he held for six years.  

At the end of his first year in that capacity the AGM recorded a “particular hearty vote of thanks” to Guy for “his imaginative efforts during this most difficult financial year” after he had kept a deficit to £18, despite an increase of £200 in the rent for the pitches and other capital payments that season.

A larger deficit in the following year caused by ground enrichments charged to the hockey club and costs incurred in perimeter drainage of the notoriously wet playing surfaces at Hornsey led to Guy’s initiative for a football game to be installed in the clubhouse. He later instituted and then oversaw a 200 Draw to raise further funds that was immediately successful.

Guy demanded proper fiscal controls and in November 1967 persuaded the Committee to adopt the requirement that the Club’s officers should obtain prior clearance before expending more than £10.

The AGM held on 5 April 1968 resolved another vote of “hearty thanks” to Guy “for his exceptional efforts” and (jointly with Richard Shaw) “for the remarkable work on the 200 Draw”.  This had helped generate an expected surplus of £200.

In early 1971, Guy managed a transfer of the treasurership. Attending his last Committee Meeting in March, he was thanked, on his retirement “for his several years of stalwart service” as treasurer.

Guy continued as a playing member of the club. A decade later, he was playing for the Veterans XI, a team that had largely evolved under the stewardship of Peter Boizot. His involvement included the mid-week league in which the Veterans participated in the early 1990’s under Chris Elliott.  He also played for the Spaniards XI at least until 1998 under Peter Symes. The recruitment of players was not easy. Guy encouraged Club members to do so in a typically succinct summary in December 1998:

H&W is an inner city, high turnover and a unique demographically profiled club. While this produces lots of opportunities, it does have its disadvantages and maybe the cost of central/west London property is a reason why the club has fewer older players than other London clubs. H&W only runs one Vets’ side compared with two or three elsewhere and of its 15 teams, all are in league except the Spaniards. If you know of any hockey players of mature years (over 35) and who would be interested in taking up hockey again, who is not getting enough hockey with his present club or who has moved into the area, get in touch!

In October 1987, Guy had called up to play for England LX, having taken a lead from Peter Boizot and participated in a tournament at Canterbury against European opposition, later celebrated at the Great Northern Hotel In Peterborough when the squad was entertained by Peter Boizot. A year later, Guy was part of the England LX that played in the fourth European Veteran’s tournament in Velbert near Dusseldorf in which the English team won all its matches.

Guy continued his club hockey playing for Hampstead & Westminster, increasingly for the Spaniards XI and the Superveterans XI (for whom he first played in 1994). He went on the very first Veterans tour to Berlin in 1988 when, despite losing 0-4 to the two Berlin sides, the team won its first cup by getting third place, thanks to a magnificent goal by Guy in the 3rd/4th play off.

His captain, Chris Elliott, recollects that on the same tour, Guy asked for "a dry wine" but the German waiter interpreted it as "drei vin" (three in number) and he became worse for wear, such that he needed assistance from room mates to get to bed, true to the spirt of hockey touring.

When Peter Boizot confirmed his wish to stand down from close involvement with Hampstead & Westminster in 2001, Guy accepted the invitation to be Club President which he did for ten years. It was an important decade for the Club as it needed to maintain a presence at Paddington Recreation Ground, install  a new water based playing surface there, overcome difficulties with the acceptability of the surface on the other pitch and deal with Peter Borzoi’s tenancy of the club house within the Carlton Tavern, given Peter’s desire to bring that commitment to an end. Guy was key to raising sufficient funds to bring about a transfer of the Lease and the future of the pub (at least until its unlawful partial demolition by later owners in April 2015).

Guy was very generous in his pastoral care of the Club’s more elderly and infirm former players and members, making visits, amongst others, to Peter Boizot and to Cornwall to see former Club Secretary, Colin Greenhalgh. He was always eager to recognise the contributions that such people had made.

He spoke at the Club’s 125th anniversary dinner in September 2018, the opening of which Peter Boizot was able to attend. Guy explained to the many current members who did not know the breadth of Peter’s generosity to the Club. This he later repeated to broader effect on the game as a whole when paying fulsome tribute to Peter at the memorial service to his life at Peterborough Cathedral on 4 February 2019.