Remnants HC's story:

The club was first founded in 1991 and gained its name from the fact that members had left other north Kent and S.E. London clubs with a desire to play hockey in a more accepting environment. It was not originally formed as a gay hockey club and not all the founding members were gay. It took three seasons to join the league, form a governance committee and establish a constitution marking the club as a gay ladies hockey team. 

Nationally hockey was in the headlines as the GB men's team had gained the gold medal at the 1988 Olympics and both the men and women were fourth in the world. The following year the women's team would take the Bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. In the Kent league Maidstone Hockey Club and Sevenoaks Hockey were top of their game with nine divisions in operation. Hockey was played mainly on grass with only the 1st division being played on the new Astro turf.

In terms of the UK gay scene, Brookside had not yet screened the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on UK TV, that was aired in 1994. In education, Section 28 was still in force, banning the use of public funds to buy materials promoting homosexuality; civil partnerships were 13 years away and the 2010 Equality Act was 19 years away. However the London lesbian social scene had moved on from underground house parties as gay clubs sprung up in South London as well as Soho. The development of an openly accepting gay hockey club was new and unique.

Remnants formed an outlet for LGBT women to not just to play hockey together but also to socialise together. Communication was in a pre-social media age, but the club managed to grow in membership: they advertised in the Kenric lesbian newsletter and eventually the club was able to field two teams. All teams started in the lowest division in the Kent league but eventually were promoted. Remnants achieved success in March 1994 when they won the Blackheath Tournament. The team took part in several international and national tours in Belgium and nationally Penzance, Southampton and the Isle of Wight. They won the Oranje Brussels Hockey Tournament when combined with Surrey's Maori Vamps team.

The team were one of the first in the league to receive sponsorship in the form of Keep Able, a national company serving the disabled community. In 2008 the club's first team were promoted to the first division in Kent and player Strings became the highest end of season scorer with 23 goals in 2009. The club has benefited over the years from ex-national squad players joining but none as famous as two of the club's longest serving members whose gay wedding featured on the Living TV programme Four Weddings in August 2009; they also featured the same month in Woman magazine. 

The club today faces the same recruitment issues as any hockey club in England: it's harder to recruit players despite the fact that we all love it so much. Some clubs are forced to merge or close, but Remnants HC remains an active gay organisation, having celebrated its 26the  anniversary , continuing to play and have an active social scene. We now play in the League 5 in the Kent League and we have players from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, as well as  from France, South Africa, Peru, Spain, Slovakia, Poland.  As always we welcome all abilities and experiences. So come and join us!

© 2018. Remnants HC. Photography by Luis Nogueira.

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