Published: 14:56, 30 June 2021
| Updated: 14:57, 30 June 2021
Sports clubs across the district have paid tribute to Dick Laslett MBE, who died on Tuesday.
Dick was instrumental in developing sports and community facilities over a period of 50 years, particularly at Polo Farm.
"We are devastated to record the death of Dick Laslett," said Canterbury Hockey Club. "Dick has shown incredible leadership in developing sports and community facilities over a period of 50 years.
Canterbury Cricket Club said: "Saddened to hear the news that one of our greatest and longest-standing supporters Dick Laslett, one of the founding fathers of Polo Farm, has passed away. Our thoughts are with all of his family and friends at this difficult time."
Canterbury Rugby Club said: "Sending condolences for the death of CHC legend Dick Laslett, who was regularly seen at The Marine Travel Ground as a friend to many of us."
Dick joined Canterbury Hockey Club at the age of 17, becoming 1st XI captain in 1962 until 1969. He was vice-chairman in 1972, chairman for 10 years from 1977 and made a life member in 1988.
He was pivotal in the development of the club's current Polo Farm home. The club said: "Throughout the 1970s he led the development of Canterbury Hockey Club from a converted rubbish tip on land rented by the council, eventually identifying the present site at Polo Farm.
"He helped to fund its purchase and successfully sought grants and loans all the way through to project completion. He was a man of vision, instrumental in setting up one of the finest centres of men's, ladies' and youth hockey in the country."
Dick also demonstrated enormous service beyond the sports field. He established the Eastry Young People's Club, providing a social outlet for the growing number of young people in this community. He secured funding and was project manager throughout the building stage and continued as chairman and youth club leader. He also obtained funding to establish a private nursery in the village, to provide a much needed facility in a growing village which was attracting many young people.
Dick became an MBE in 2009 for voluntary service to sport and young people in the Canterbury and Eastry area from Her Majesty The Queen and described it at the time as a "wonderful day in fantasy land".
He said: "The whole thing was wonderfully organised and I was in fantasy land.
"I had never been to the Palace before, but the quality of the pictures and the whole place was quite something. It was a day I'll always remember."