WINDSOR Hockey Club legend Patsy Welford has died aged 71 following a lengthy illness.

A dearly loved player and leading committee member, Welford was well-known and admired across the hockey world. Her role as a committee member for the ladies South League also made her a force for hockey across the South of England.

She was the heart and soul of Windsor Hockey Club since joining in 1970 and held down positions including Ladies Club Captain, Fixtures Secretary and Umpire Secretary, as well as being a top defender.

Her status grew over the years and she earned the nickname Queen of Windsor after masterminding an unprecedented triple for the ladies section which saw all three teams promoted in the 2000-01 season.

She was instrumental in the first team's promotion to the regional Holy Grail of hockey - entry into the South Women’s League.

When she retired from playing five years ago, Welford continued in her admin roles but also became a mentor and matchday coach for the ladies second team, helping them win promotion to Trysports Division Three last season.

Despite battling illness, she was at home matches every Saturday until being hospitalised in the latter half of the season. Despite that, she kept tabs on the team from her hospital bed, dishing out advice and praise to keep them on track.

Patsy Welford died on Monday 2nd September and the club is mourning her loss.

In tribute, Windsor will be holding a minute of applause at 1pm on Club Day at The Windsor Boys' School this Saturday to celebrate the life of one of its greatest ambassadors.

A memorial match and other events to mark her incredible life and devotion to Windsor Hockey Club are planned over the next 12 months.

Paula Green, a close friend to Welford, said “Patsy was a larger than life character. She is the kind of member that every sports club needs to survive. She was our beating heart. She got involved in everything and at full throttle on and off the pitch.

"Patsy was the ultimate team player and always put the club before herself. She could connect with players of all ages and that's why her passing will leave an enormous hole in all our lives.

"Patsy was, quite simply, Windsor Hockey Club and a dear friend to us all.”