MARY Slater, a member of a West Yorkshire sporting family and an enthusiastic local historian, has died aged 89.
When her name is mentioned, she is often thought of as the widow of Alan Slater, a leading British amateur golfer of his day, but she was a sportswoman in her own right having been a keen hockey player playing for Wakefield Ladies’ Hockey Club, of which she was a founder member when it was formed in 1953.
She was born in Sandal, the only child of local builder Fred Iveson who was also one of the founders of Sandal Rugby Club, something of which she was always very proud.
She was educated at Wakefield Girls High School after which she worked for Martins Bank, which was taken over by Barclays in 1969, until she married Alan Slater in 1949.
He was a talented golfer who in 1955 was runner-up in the British Amateur Golf Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
He also won the English Men’s Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship for the Brabazon Trophy in 1962, at Woodhall Spa, and was a leading player for Yorkshire and England.
At the height of his time as one of the country’s top amateur players he was asked by the James Bond author, Ian Fleming, himself a keen player, to partner him in a tournament.
When he competed in the final of the amateur Championship in 1955 he received a number of good luck messages, including a telegram from Herbert Sutcliffe, the revered Yorkshire and England opening batsmen of the 1920s.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s the Slaters’ 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, including Ivor Dorrington and Alan Skene.
In his business life Mr Slater was a director of the family engineering company Slater & Crabtree, of which his father was a founder.
The family’s sporting talent has been passed down the generations with Mrs Slater’s elder son Julian, learning rugby with Sandal colts before playing senior rugby for Huddersfield, and later captaining Morley 1st XV.
She also keenly followed the progress of her grandchildren, Alicia, 15, and Sebastian, 13, both of whom have represented Ampleforth College at their respective age groups. Alicia continues the family hockey tradition, while Sebastian plays rugby, cricket and golf. He captained the cricket 1st XI and played rugby for the 1st XV last season at St Martin’s, Ampleforth’s preparatory school.
Mrs Slater was also a keen gardener and was a member of Wakefield Flower Club, as well as the Historical Society. Local history was one of her favourite subjects and she took a special interest in local records and archives.
She is survived by her two sons, Julian and Martin, and two grandchildren.