THE ever-growing membership of Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club was dealt a blow last Thursday when news broke that one of the most influential people in its recent history had died.

Duncan Griffiths, 73, who stayed in McKane Place, had been part of the club from its days based at Pitreavie playing on grass, and played a key part in the development of the youth set-up, which has produced many outstanding players as the astroturf era evolved.

Born and brought up in the Levenmouth area, the long-time engineer with BT who eventually stepped into a managerial role, he was an all-round sports person who fought bowel cancer for eight years.

He was a good squash player, being a member of the Dunfermline Squash Club, based at McKane Park, and was a former president of Dunfermline Sports Club, which houses the squash club, Dunfermline Rugby Club and Dunfermline and Carnegie Cricket Club.

Duncan started playing hockey with DCHC in 1979, and was happy to play in a number of positions before becoming a goalkeeper, and was to move up the elevens and played in the second team, which was a strong contender at the top end of East League Division One.

He took over as captain of the side, and guided it through to the Scottish District Cup final, in 1987, against Kelburne, at Linwood, where they lost 2-0, in a very tight game.

Dunfermline Press: Duncan was an extremely fit and competitive player on the pitch, and friendly and very sociable off it.Duncan was an extremely fit and competitive player on the pitch, and friendly and very sociable off it. (Image: Contributed)

His long playing career with DCHC, then saw him an outfield player, helping out many of the club’s lower sides when the number of teams being run rose to six, as the youth development project advanced. He also played in the Scotland Veterans team, at right back, for a few seasons.

Duncan helped run a number of teams over many seasons, and fulfilled the role of president of DCHC for six years, and helped guide the club through the effects of both the major fire at their Woodmill High School base, and then the challenges posed by the Covid Pandemic. 

Former club captain, Gordon Johnston, recalled: “Duncan strongly assisted in the club's development, notably via supporting its successful implementation, from 2016 to 2019, of Sportscotland’s blue riband Direct Club Investment programme.

“It aided the club’s first eleven reach the Scottish Premier Division for the first time."

Gordon also remembered Duncan as a real character and commented: “Early on, before goalkeepers wore proper protection, he deflected a goal bound shot over the bar by deliberately deflecting it off his head!

“Then there is the story of him playing on the North Inch, at Perth, facing into a snow storm, and after several minutes he hadn't seen any action - only to realise that the people in the distance entering the pavilion were the teams.  No one had thought of telling him that they had abandoned the game!

“He was an extremely fit and competitive player on the pitch, but off the pitch friendly and very sociable.

“He also took up the umpire’s whistle in recent years, and notably provided umpiring support home and away for our youth development squad. 

“He was always ready to lend a supporting hand, or give a word of advice, around developing the game and assisting young players.” 

A childhood supporter of East Fife, on moving to Dunfermline in the 1970s, he became a keen supporter of Dunfermline Athletic, and he backed the Pars through lean times, and also during the highly successful era under the stewardship of Jimmy Calderwood.

Duncan is survived by wife Jan, sons Barry and Alan, and three grandchildren.