Peter the Great… The man behind the lens!

Sitting here writing what I am about to write gives me great sadness even though Peter Savage has been gone for some time now… He was finally laid to rest a month ago on March 6th 2017. I remember meeting Peter for the first time nearly 10 years ago at an England Hockey event where he was taking photographs and writing articles. Peter had such a charismatic way about him, always saw the bright side of things. As I got to know him I began to like him even more, not that there wasn’t anything you couldn’t like about Peter.

He had such a great sense of humour and was always smiling even when things were not going his way or the weather was, well you know what the weather in the UK is like, abysmal sometimes. Nothing got him down, not even his illness, you would think that someone who was a photographer would just moan about his equipment getting wet; not Peter. Well, not that he put across anyway, he would have just smiled and got on with it. I think the whole of The Hockey Family knew Peter, he had travelled far and wide, taking photos and writing articles for the sport that he so loved. He was a great advocate of hockey who epitomised all that’s great about hockey and the Hockey Family.

Peter’s life was celebrated on Monday last week, where his family, friends and people from his extended family ‘The Hockey Family’ gathered to remember his life, share stories and simply remember the good times with Peter. Unfortunately, I personally wasn’t able to attend, although I would have liked to have been there, but reading tributes on Facebook and other social media platforms you can tell that Peter was very much loved by the people he had come across and who proudly called him their friend. Peter was not a religious man and his funeral was not in the slightest way traditional but that’s just what Peter wanted and his wife Stella made sure his wishes were followed.

The entire hockey family has always given me a warm welcome and extended the hand of friendship

He had prepared himself for what was inevitable and his courage and outlook on life in light of his illness was just remarkable. He even put a website together to document the last few months of his life.

Below is a short obituary that Peter sent me before his passing.

‘Peter was born on 8th January 1947 at Hackney Hospital, East London.  After a relatively undistinguished school career, Peter initially spent 10 years working in the underwriting room at Lloyds of London before joining the Sussex Police in 1973.  Peter was initially on uniform patrol at Brighton before joining the CID at Haywards Heath in 1977.  Peter later transferred to the Commercial Investigation Unit (the CIU).  Whilst serving on the CIU, Peter was awarded 6 commendations and a certificate of merit.  His time at the CIU is noteworthy for the work he did on leasehold reform resulting from an enquiry which he had previously undertaken.

Peter retired from the Sussex Police in 2000 and studied for an Honours degree in History at the University of Chichester, finally obtaining a 2.1.  Alongside his studies, Peter became a semi-professional photographer, and photographed a number of major sports events including the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Hockey World Cup in The Netherlands.  Peter had started playing hockey for Broxbourne in 1971 and had gone on to become a Level 2 umpire a few years later.  He started writing for Hockey Sport magazine in 2005 and also wrote for England Hockey News and Push magazine.  In October 2016, the Hockey Museum dedicated its Oral History Collection to Peter for his pioneering work in obtaining recorded interviews with top players and officials in hockey.’

I also asked his good lady wife Stella, or as I like to respectfully call her Mrs Savage, to put something together for me about Peter in her own words, I am so grateful that she said yes and took the time out of taking care of Peter to do me the great honour of putting something together.

In the words of Mrs Savage

Those who know him may already be aware that Peter’s commitment and dedication to hockey are second only to his commitment and dedication to me.  When we first met, he no longer played hockey but was umpiring matches and, as time went on, he became a match delegate. He also wrote about the sport with flair, honesty and good humour, and developed his photographic skills so that he could illustrate his articles with pictures. Recognising his passion for the sport, I have always been very happy to support Peter with his various hockey activities, even though some of them involved us being apart for days or weeks at a time.  On these occasions, without fail he would phone me at least once a day to share news from his end and to tell me how much he loved me.

Everyone needs at least one hero, and that’s where I am so lucky – I’m married to mine

There were times when I accompanied him on his travels to hockey events and he was brave enough to trust me with recording equipment to do post-match interviews with players and to write an article or two for his online hockey magazine. This opened up a wonderful world for me, and his journalist/photographer colleagues were tremendously helpful and happy to encourage my first footsteps into hockey journalism. Indeed, the entire hockey family has always given me a warm welcome and extended the hand of friendship at every match/meeting/event I have attended at home and abroad; my gratitude for this is heartfelt.

I am very proud of Peter’s achievements in all areas of his life. His being accredited to the London 2012 Olympics as a hockey photographer is among the highest, as is The Hockey Museum’s dedication of their oral history collection to him in October 2016 as a tribute to his contribution to the sport. Attending the graduation ceremony when he received his Honours degree was also very special. Several of Peter’s heroes can be found in the world of hockey due to their characters, values, and inspirational attitudes.  Everyone needs at least one hero, and that’s where I am so lucky – I’m married to mine.

So there you have it… Peter was a hero to his wife but you know what I am sure he was a hero to other people too just because he was Peter Savage.

 

You can find Peters works on the following sites

http://www.rabbithead.co.uk/

http://www.hockeyimages.co.uk/about.html