Death of Graham Nash, umpire at Olympic Games

Former Halifax resident and five time olympic hockey ref Graham Nash, who died in Valencia, Spain, on June 1 2011

Former Halifax resident and five time olympic hockey ref Graham Nash, who died in Valencia, Spain, on June 1 2011

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A former Olympic hockey referee has died, aged 68.

Graham Nash, a supervisor at Northgate Leisure Centre, Halifax, during the 1970s, died peacefully at his home in Valencia, Spain.

He went on to become assistant director for the leisure services department at Calderdale.

A dedicated sports fanatic, Graham umpired five Olympic Games between 1976 and 1992, as well as two World Cups and the European Championship final in 1974.

He appears in the Guiness Book of Records for the number of Olympic appearances he made, and he refereed 124 international matches.

He was born in Buckinghamshire and worked in the Metropolitan Police before moving north to take on leisure centre positions in Manchester and then Halifax.

He emigrated to Spain in 2008 with Tom, his partner of 37 years, for the better weather and a more relaxed lifestyle.

But in November 2010 he suffered a serious stroke and in January 2011 contracted pneumonia.

Tributes to Graham have poured into online hockey forums.

A statement from the international governing body for hockey, the FIH, read: “Graham was hugely respected and liked by so many people in England, Europe and throughout the world.

“He will be missed by all those who knew him. The FIH sends its condolences to his partner and family at this sad time.”

His friend and former PA Sue Morris added: “He will be missed but not forgotten by all who knew him.”