“A man who gave so much and wanted so little back.”
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Phil Thomas on Wednesday 12th June 2019.
Phil was one of Yorkshire Hockey’s most dedicated volunteers demonstrated by over thirty years extensive & innovative work to develop & improve the structure of Youth Hockey in our County and the North of England.
Phil had worked many years as a stalwart for Bradford HC where he had played as a full back.
On retiring from playing Phil dedicated himself to developing Youth hockey structures in Yorkshire. Phil was a teacher and he realised that boys did not get the opportunity to play hockey at school. In 1990 together with a few colleagues he started up a Yorkshire Youth League for Boys at U16 and U18 level. From this small beginning the Youth Leagues began to blossom. In 1992 the leagues were replicated for girls. Yorkshire Youth Leagues now cater for both Boys and Girls from U10 up to U16 level. Over 2,500 young players benefited from playing in the leagues in 2018-19 season and stars like Barry Middleton have much to thank the leagues for.
Phil became chairman of the league – a position he held until his death and spent many hours each week ensuring teams were informed of the venues and opposition etc. Whether booking facilities or nudging clubs to enter more teams Phil worked tirelessly to ensure a quality product for Yorkshire’s Youth.
Phil also gave a great deal to North Youth structures being the Chair of North Youth Committee and West Yorkshire Hockey Development Group. He sat on Yorkshire and North Hockey Association committees ensuring that Youth hockey had a voice.
Phil received several awards Nationally and locally for the work that he delivered but awards did not motivate him.
Nothing pleased Phil more than to see dozens of kids having fun playing hockey.
His wife Christine was his greatest supporter throughout helping run the finances of YYHL and constantly supporting his work. They formed a great team for hockey.
Hockey will miss Phil Thomas.
Updated 16:44 - 14 Jun 2019 by Mike Rushmere