It was with great sadness last week that we announced the passing of Ann Valerie Hutchings, a hugely respected figure in lacrosse both domestically and internationally.
Ann was well known to a vast number of lacrosse coaches, teachers and officials in England, she was a true friend to many of you.
English Lacrosse has received a great many tributes for Ann and her involvement in the sport. Acknowledgments have emanated from both the international and UK lacrosse community.
Ann enjoyed an illustrious career with lacrosse; the following summary of her involvement with the game has been researched thoroughly, however if there are omissions please forgive us.
Ann’s involvement in the game can be traced back to her school days at Newbury Grammar School. That first introduction to the game fostered a passion for lacrosse that would stay with her for the rest of her life. Ann represented East Territory in many regional competitions, and also had the honor to represent England and Great Britain between 1977-1982.
Coaching & Managerial
Ann earned international coaching experience with the England Development team, which included a tour to Japan in 1994 to participate in the Friendship Games. She also coached the BUSA women’s team in various Territorials and many university players were nurtured and given a love of the game by Ann.
Ann also managed England between 1992-1995; in her tenure she took teams to 2003 World Cup in Edinburgh and a month long tour to Melbourne, Australia in 1985.
Committees & Administration
Ann held many positions on various committees as a volunteer here are a few of the positions that she held,
- AEWLA Executive Committee 1991-1997
- Chair of England Selection Committee 1993-97
- ELA Rules & Umpiring Committee 2000 – 2014
- ELF Committee 2008-2010
- FIL Officiating Committee 2009-2014
Hutch’ as her friends knew her, had a long and illustrious career as a leading international umpire beginning in the late 90s with her first international umpiring experience being at the 1999 Home Internationals, and culminating in being appointed the FIL Women’s Officiating Chair in 2012. Below is a summary of her officiating achievements,
- Umpire 2007 U19 World Cup in Canada
- Umpire 2009 Senior World Cup in Prague
- Technical Delegate 2009 U19 World Cup in Hannover
- Umpire 2013 Senior World Cup in Canada
- FIL Women’s Officiating Chair (2012)
Tributes & Memories of Ann
Stan Cockerton – FIL President
Known to many as ‘Hutch’, Ann led the largest group of officials ever gathered together at the 2013 Women’s World Cup and will be remembered for her poise, professionalism, everlasting smile and outstanding dedication to the world of women’s lacrosse.
Ann had friends all over the world with many umpires having been touched and nurtured by her welcoming and friendly manner. The many public tributes already expressed about Ann are a true testament to the impact she has had on our global lacrosse community. Our condolences are extended to her family and friends.
Clair Stoot – English Lacrosse Co-President
I first met Hutch in 1976 when I went to Dartford College of Physical Education in Kent. She had recently left with a B.Ed in PE which was fairly unusual in those days, as only students with high enough grades in their Certificate in Education were invited to stay on for a 4th year – she was not only sporty but bright and intelligent too.
She had acquired a post as a PE teacher locally and had friends at Dartford who she visited regularly so when I attended Kent and East trials that autumn she immediately made me feel welcome and because of our College connection ‘took me under her wing’.
Making you feel valued and included was so typical of Hutch – her love and passion for lacrosse and all that it meant to her, was well established even then and she delighted in others sharing it with her.
Over the next few years we often travelled together with other teammates to Trials, County and Territorial Tournaments and England Squads –she had a car and was always generous with her offers to drive. On the pitch she was a dominant force playing in midfield, running like the wind from end to end and using her tight stick-work to defend, ease past opponents to score, or assist in goals.
Hutch was such fun to be with, we had so many laughs and crazy times. I admired her as a player and she was a huge support and inspiration to me but it is only on reflection at her passing, that I realise just what a true ambassador for our sport she was and that that had begun long before she realised the huge part Lacrosse was to play in her life.
Her loss to the game both nationally and internationally will be immeasurable but her legacy to our game invaluable.
Wendy Reynolds – FIL International Umpire
I first met Hutch over 20 years ago when she was coaching, what was then called, Combined Universities and I was playing for the North. Over the years our paths crossed when I started teaching and she was working at St. Bart’s and we would meet for fixtures.
I really got to know her best when I played for England and Hutch was manager, I will always remember the extraordinary amount of pairs of trainers she had: I have never known anyone with so many! One for every outfit she used to tell me!
For the past 10 years we had really been umpiring colleagues and friends umpiring at Senior and U19 World Cups all over the world. I have many fond memories of these: I never let Hutch forget the time, in my moment of glory, umpiring the U19 World Cup in Canada, with nearly 10 seconds to go Hutch, as fourth official came onto the pitch to start the 10 second count down. She was so earnestly watching her stop watch that she failed to notice that she was right behind me and as the play changed direction, and I turned to go the other way she totally ‘blind picked’ me and I ended up on the floor! Much to the amusement of my fellow umpires and the whole England U19 team who were sat at that end of the pitch!
Hutch was a marvellous umpiring mentor and teacher: her calm approach and ability to explain rules and positioning to umpires, old and new, made her a real asset not only to English Lacrosse but also to international lacrosse. She has inspired many up and coming umpires and will be sorely missed especially by her fellow ‘zebras’
Monday 27 October, 1pm at St. Lawrence’s Church, Hungerford, West Berkshire.