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History

A meeting of all Devon Hockey Clubs in 1950 set in motion the activities which saw the opening of the first Paignton Easter Hockey Festival. The initial gathering comprised of only 11 clubs. The Festival adopted the motto - "Semper Acceptus" (Always Welcome). Teams were entered under pseudonyms and the format of play was based on a non-competitive basis.

The enthusiastic support of firstly Paignton local council and then Torbay Council and the loyalty of both teams and individual players who return year after year have made this festival most successful.

Matches were orginally played on grass pitches and several years were affected by cancellations of some games due to wet weather. However in 1959, the Festival saw a major change. Pitches were no longer restricted to the Paignton area but rather spread out across the Borough of Torbay, including Torquay, Dartmouth, Dartington, Churston Ferrers and Denbury and the number of teams attending rose to 30.

1968 saw the demise of Paignton Urban District Council and the introduction of Torbay Borough Council. and the name of the Festival was changed to reflect this. In 1979, Tony Forward took over as Chairman and the Committee structure was revamped to take in representatives from clubs, Torbay Borough Council and the headquarters hotel. Numbers of teams taking part increased steadily. There had never been a competitive edge to the festival before, but in 1979 the Bill Stickells Cup was introduced, to be awarded to the team who scored the most goals. The number of pitches had risen and spread out over the Torbay area to encompass Totnes, Teignmouth and Dawlish, and the first astro pitches were in use allowing the worst grass pitches to be pensioned off.

The years from 1997-2000 saw the numbers of teams participating reducing slightly as league hockey and the cost of participation took its toll, but a successful 50th anniversary took place in 2000 and the last of the grass pitches were phased out. Twenty-four teams took part in 2003, which was another successful year which saw a new astro pitch becoming available in the heart of Torbay situated at the Torquay Girls Grammar School.

Torquay Easter Hockey Festival remained an all-male Easter Hockey Festival played on astro pitches until 2005 when it was decided by the Committee to extend the invitation to the Festival to Ladies' teams. Disappointingly this development was not particularly successful and after two seasons was phased out. 

 

The Festival matches have always been played in the very best spirit and in line with this commitment it was also decided in 2005 to change the way in which the Bill Stickells Cup was awarded. The Bill Stickells Cup was presented to the team who most embodied the idea of 'fair play' by ballot by the opposing team awarding marks. However , this move proved to be short lived , and in 2007 , the Stickells Cup reverted back to it's goal scoring format . The Redcliffe Hotel stepped in , and provided a new Cup - the Redcliffe Fair Play Cup  - run on the same lines as that used in 2005 - 6 , and so the Festival continues with two Competitions , side by side.

It remains a friendly hockey festival played for the joy of the game among teams who often return year after year, many bringing their families with them to enjoy the splendid scenery and holiday atmosphere of the Torbay area.