MARGARET BOYD was a leading figure in the world of lacrosse who kept the memory and structure of the sport alive in Britain during the Second World War and was the founding president of the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations.
Boyd was born in Strasbourg in 1913, and educated at Berkhamsted Girls School, in Hertfordshire, and at Wycombe Abbey, in Buckinghamshire. She trained at Bedford PE College before going as a teacher first to Roedean, the girls' public school in Sussex, and then to Berkhamsted, where she taught until the beginning of the war. She was first selected to play lacrosse for England in 1934 and was captain of the national side from 1938 to her retirement as a player in 1951.
During the war Boyd worked as a physiotherapist at Ashridge Hospital, in Hertfordshire, and placed an advertisement in the national press which produced lacrosse equipment for schools struggling with war shortages. She also organised coaching and competition in the women's services and set up a team called the Occasionals.
She returned to Wycombe Abbey, as a teacher, in 1944, and set up the first National Schools Tournament for lacrosse. This competition is now spread over five days, when teams from all over Britain compete for the All England Schools Championship and for five senior cups, one of them the Boyd Cup. In the post-war years, Boyd went to the United States on over 20 trips to teach lacrosse at summer camps and encouraged leading British players and coaches to do the same.
Beginning in 1934 the British and US lacrosse associations had set up a regular touring schedule between the two countries, and in 1969 Boyd took a team of players and coaches, the Pioneers, on a tour of Australia. The Australians came on tour to Britain in 1972, and in the same year Boyd was appointed the Founder President of the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations.
The first World Cup for the sport was held in Britain in 1982, when the United States beat Australia in the final, and at this year's competition, held in Edinburgh, Boyd watched England, Scotland, Wales, the US, Australia, Canada playing against the Czech Republic and Japan, both of whom were competing at the World Cup for the first time. Sweden, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and India have all expressed an interest in competing in the next World Cup.
Maggie Boyd was essentially a modest person, and easily embarrassed. At the World Cup this year she expressed herself 'thrilled that the small beginning had blossomed into such a thriving organisation due to the outstanding leadership of presidents that followed me'. Only a few days before her death she heard she had been elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Baltimore, the first woman to receive that honour.