England Hockey award recognises Harleston Magpies stalwart’s efforts

Perkins Slade Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mike Denham (centre), of Harleston Magpies, at the E

Perkins Slade Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mike Denham (centre), of Harleston Magpies, at the England Hockey Awards 2016. Picture: Ravi Ghowry/England Hockey - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies stalwart Mike Denham has been recognised for his dedication to hockey with a national award.

The honorary life vice-president of the south Norfolk club has been announced as the winner of the Perkins Slade Lifetime Achievement Award at the England Hockey Awards.

The awards ceremony was held at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on Saturday night, bringing together the great and the good of the hockey world as 17 prizes were handed out.

On receiving the award, Denham said: 'I am delighted, I have dedicated my life to hockey I suppose, I have always taken the view of I haven't had anything else to do due to retirement!

'I have been pleased to be involved in hockey as I have got enormous satisfaction from being part of the hockey community.'

Denham, who lives in Norwich, has been involved in the game at club, county, regional or national level for over 50 years.

He joined Norwich Union when he left school, later serving as club secretary and president, and for the past 20 years has been a non-playing member at Magpies.

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He has served Harleston as chairman of the club's board committee, executive committee, social and fund-raising committee, as well as helping to secure over £9,000 annually as commercial manager and representing the club – which celebrated its 80th year in 2015 – on the organising committee of the Harleston Fireworks Spectacular.

Along with producing the club's handbook, writing a weekly 'Mike's Musings' newsletter, updating the club's website, sending reports to the EDP, watering pitches and operating scoreboards – Denham plays a major role throughout the club.

He was also previously publicity officer for the Eastern Counties Hockey Association for five years, before serving as secretary for 10 years as well as also representing ECHA on the England Hockey Association council for several years, becoming a member of the management committee.

Magpies secretary Daphne Beckett said in the club's nomination: 'All the commitments which Mike undertakes he does with efficiency and emphasis must be made to the fact that we are a very rural club and the fact that Mike's journey to the club adds up to a 40-mile round trip which he does at least three times a week in the open season.

'His acumen of welcoming all members, players or family, especially new visitors at the club is of even more importance as we draw our membership from a very large catchment area and therefore, of great importance to offer hospitality to all who have travelled to such a rural environment.'

The nomination concluded: 'Mike, who for years has supported England and GB teams at home and abroad, is passionate about hockey at all levels.'

• Norwich City Hockey Club had nominations for three prizes at the England Hockey Awards. They were one of six clubs nominated for the Notts Sport Club of the Season award but lost out to Sevenoaks HC. Matthew Brine was also nominated for Club Coach and Sarah Anthony in the Unsung Hero category.

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