Graham lived his early life in the south of England. His parents lived in Bourne End near Marlow close to Bisham Abbey, now the home of English Hockey.
He began his working life in London as a member of the Metropolitan Police where eventually he qualified as a Class One Driver and joined the fast response team.
In the late 1960s he decided on a career change and trained to become a Leisure Centre Manager. He moved north and took up an appointment in Manchester. A few years later he took a promotion to a Leisure Centre in Huddersfield where he finished his working career.
Graham came into hockey umpiring quite by accident. One Wednesday afternoon while he was watching a police hockey match which was short of an umpire, his Inspector suggested that Graham should take the whistle. He enjoyed it so much that he subsequently joined his local Hockey Umpires Association, eventually progressing to the London League which in those days contained several top teams such as Hounslow, Blackheath, Old Kingstonians and Surbiton. Graham soon found himself umpiring England international players including Mike Corby and Chris Langhorne. Eventually Graham progressed to his England Badge and his first international at Lord’s.
Subsequently he was appointed to more international matches. In 1974 he was appointed to the European Nations Championship Finals in Madrid where he umpired the final and was awarded his crown and Grade One status. He went on to umpire at five Olympic Games (Montreal in 1976, Moscow in 1980, Los Angeles in 1984, Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992), and two World Cups (Buenos Aires in 1978 and London in 1986). He umpired a total of 124 international matches.
Following his retirement from umpiring he qualified as a Level Three Umpire Coach. He served as an Umpires’ Manager for the EHF and FIH. He was the Chair of the FIH Umpiring Committee in the 1990s, and a member of EHF Appointments Committee up until 2005.
Graham emigrated to Spain in 2008 for the better weather. Sadly in November 2010 he suffered a serious stroke and in January 2011 contracted pneumonia. Graham passed away very peacefully at 17.00 hours on Wednesday, 1 June, 2011 and his cremation took place during the afternoon of Thursday, 2 June.
Graham was a tremendous umpire who was respected widely throughout England, Europe and throughout the world. He will be missed by many in hockey.
The EHF sends its sincere condolences to Graham’s partner and his family.