Woodford Green sports reporter named in Queen's birthday honours
PUBLISHED: 16:32 14 June 2016
A 82-year-old sports journalist has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his outstanding services to hockey.
Patrick Rowley, from Oak Hill Crescent, Woodford Green, has achieved the unique distinction of covering the London Olympics twice, in 1948 and 2012.
The first time around, he was a 14-year-old schoolboy working for his local paper, the Middlesex Chronicle, and more recently as a 78-year-old freelance reporter.
The hockey enthusiast said it was “quite nice” to be recognised, but he has been waiting a while.
He said: “I thought I was going to get it about 10 years ago!
“I wasn’t sure if I would get it for my services to journalism or hockey, but I’m very pleased.
“I found a niche and I stuck with it.”
As well as reporting on hockey, Patrick is still a keen player and won his first national title this year.
He said: “I won my first national title at 82-and-a-half years old, playing for south England in the divisional over-75 tournament.
“I recently played against an 86-year-old and he was very pleased to see me.
“The problem was they put us both on the same side and we were probably the slowest full backs.”
Patrick developed a taste for journalism at boarding school as a seven-year-old pupil in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
He said: “I started a magazine because I wanted to find out what was going on.
“The school football team would go away to play and nobody seemed to know the results.
“Also I wanted to know about the other boys.
“I wrote it out in longhand myself so I earned the penny I charged!
“The headmaster was so impressed that he bought me a printer and later a camera.”
When he was 14, he reported on his first national sporting ceremony - the 1948 London Olympics - after persuading the editor of the Middlesex Chronicle, who also captained his cricket team, to let him report.
He said: “I had my first front page article when I was 13 or 14.
“I think my teammates helped persuade him, and so I went and bought tickets, and started reporting.”
Since 1948, Patrick has reported on 14 Olympics, and was presented with a replica Olympic torch in 2012 to honour his outstanding commitment.
He has also covered every World Cup, co-founded the Hockey Musuem in 2011, and reported on sport for The Guardian, the Sunday Times and “every other national newspaper.”
Patrick said he feels privileged to have witnessed many sporting highlights firsthand.
He said: “In 1968 in Mexico, I saw Bob Bradman make that incredible world record in long jump.
“I suppose you make your own luck - I’ve done a bit of everything, news, sports, court cases, the only thing I haven’t really done is politics.
“Even the nice men go mad in politics.”