Fond farewell to hockey club founder Mary

Mary Slater
Mary Slater

A founding member of Wakefield Hockey Club’s ladies section has died, aged 89.

In February 1953, Mary Slater was part of a group of ladies who set up the first ever female section at the College Grove club.

Mrs Slater came from a successful sporting family.

Her father, Fred Iveson, founded Sandal Rugby Club, her husband Alan was one of Wakefield’s best amateur golfers and her son Julian played rugby union for Huddersfield and Morley.

Mrs Slater, of Sandal, died in Pinderfields Hospital on Friday, June 21, aged 89.

She also leaves behind another son, Martin, and grandchildren Sebastian, 13, and Alicia, 15.

Julian, 61, said: “She was forthright and strong in the face of adversity. She was also a very caring woman.

“Sport was a big part of our life and she was very proud of what dad achieved and was always there in the background.”

Alan Slater was runner-up in the British Amateur Golf Championship, winner of the Brabazon trophy and a leading player for Yorkshire and England in the 1950s and 1960s.

He was also a director of the engineering company Slater & Crabtree before he died in 1988, aged 69.

Julian played rugby union for Sandal Colts before going on to play for Huddersfield and being captain for Morley 1st XV.

Mrs Slater attended Wakefield Girls’ High School and was a member of Wakefield Flower Club and the city’s historical society.

Lifelong friend Norman Hazell said: “She was a very well-known and much-loved resident for many years in Sandal.

“When her name is mentioned, many people immediately think of Mary as Alan Slater’s widow, for of course Alan was a national figure in the golf world.

“Mary, however, was a great character in her own right. In the late 1950s and early 60s, Mary and Alan’s home was often host to a wide cross section of sporting people, including a welcoming party for the first South Africans to play for Wakefield Trinity.”