Sports stars who died in 2021, remembered by those who knew them


It’s amazing to think of the hurdles women like Cecilia would have had to overcome to keep playing cricket when they did. I am amazed at how difficult it must have been, and how much spirit and determination Cecilia and her teammates had. It’s not just the fact that they often raised their own money – even if it’s so impressive – but I know from playing in 2021 that you always have to deal with the odd raised eyebrow when you’re a player. woman in sports and Cecilia made her test debut in 1949! It was women like Cecilia – and Eileen Ash, who we also lost this year – who paved the way for me and my teammates to do what we do professionally. We owe them a huge debt and we are very grateful to them. We will think of them when we take the pitch at the Ashes and the World Cup in 2022. We know they would cheer us on and hope for a win in England.


Siobhan Cattigan – by Gillian Duncan, Director of Women and Girls at the Stirling County RFC

“Siobhan was one of the nicest, most passionate people most of us have had the pleasure of pitching,” said Gillian Duncan. Sport Telegraph, following the tragic death of Scotland rugby international Siobhan Cattigan on November 26, 2021 at the age of 26. wasn’t afraid to join the boys in showing them exactly what she was made of.

A talented full-back – Cattigan won her first international cap for Scotland at the 2018 Women’s Six Nations and won 19 overall caps for her country – Cattigan was the cornerstone of the County Stirling women’s team, where she played her rugby club in the Scottish Women’s Premier, while her contributions off the pitch have earned her the greatest admiration.

“As she progressed in rugby, she was more than happy to attend training sessions with younger players to encourage them, help them and show what one could achieve when one worked hard – the girls loved it! ” Duncan said. “Off the pitch she was a loyal and caring daughter, sister and friend. There is a Shibby shaped hole in our hearts that will never be filled.


Dorothy Manley, British sprinter and European relay champion

Dorothy Parlett (née Manley) was one of the last British athletes to win a medal at the 1948 London Olympics, before her death last month at the age of 94.

In an interview with the Telegraph last year, she spoke of the dedication of today’s athletes, after the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics: “They are preparing for next year now – it was unheard of in my time. Now they have four years to prepare, but four years before ours there was a war and you didn’t think of it that way at all.

However, Parlett played down her own dedication, as before London 1948 she gave up working full time as a secretary with the Suez Canal Company to focus on her sprint and took unpaid leave to compete in the Games. After traveling to Wembley Stadium by tube, she was second in 12.2 seconds in the 100m. Her silver medal was worth it, Parlett’s tears of joy on the podium showed how well she had ranked her achievement. In 1951, she became the world record holder after being part of the British 4×220-yard relay team, and during her career she recorded a personal best of 12 seconds in the 100m. Her career was interrupted in 1952 by a thyroid disease and she became a teacher, especially in physical education.


Gillian Sheen, British Olympic fencing champion

Gillian Sheen remains the only British Olympic gold medalist in fencing, having climbed to the podium at the 1956 Melbourne Games. A dental surgeon by profession, she is said to have strengthened her wrists by pulling out teeth. She kept herself in shape with a meal of steak and a glass of burgundy after each workout.

Considered a rank outsider before the first Games in which electronic scoring was introduced, The daily telegraph hailed his triumph in individual foil as “a victory for modern classical fencing”. A seven-time national champion, she followed her Olympic success with a Commonwealth Games title in 1958.

Born in Willesden on August 21, 1928 to Ethel (née Powell) and Ronald Sheen, the youngest of four children, Sheen began fencing as a boarder at North Foreland Lodge School in Kent. She then went on to study dentistry at University College Hospital, where she won the all-time high five consecutive university women’s championships.

Sheen’s book – Instructions to Young Fencers – was published in 1958 before she won her tenth and final British Championship in 1960. She retired from competitive fencing three years later. In 2019, she was named MBE for her services to sport.


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