New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ

PUBLISHED: 11:17 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:51 12 February 2019

New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEK

New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Frank Uijlenbroek

A new £198,000 astro pitch at an Ely sports and social club will be officially opened by Olympic hockey champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE.

New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: CALOR GAS.New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: CALOR GAS.

Ely Outdoor Sports Association launched a fundraising appeal to replace their old pitch in 2017 after it had become worn and dangerous to play on.

The pitch was finished just weeks ago and now an opening ceremony will take place on Sunday February 24.

Helen, who was part of the gold winning 2016 Olympic hockey team, will be at the helm of a day of celebrations including various hockey matches on the new pitch.

The 37-year-old from Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, represented Great Britain at the Sydney, Beijing, London and Rio Olympic Games.

New £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEKNew £198,000 astro pitch in Ely to be opened by gold medal Olympic champ Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. Picture: WORLDSPORTPICS/FRANK UIJLENBROEK

At age 18 she was a member of the Great Britain team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, becoming the youngest female hockey player to represent them in an Olympic Games.

The new pitch will not only be used by the hockey club but a number of local adult and junior football teams and clubs as well as a local schools and sports groups.

Together with various fundraising events the club managed to reach their target last August and work started on the replacement pitch in October 2018.

Since then they have secured grants from Sport England, the Amey Community Fund, the National Hockey Foundation and East Cambridgeshire District Council as well generous donations from local companies.

Jon Crisp of Amey Cespa, Sally Gibson of Living Sport and the Mayor of Ely will also be attending the opening ceremony.

There will also be youth rugby training taking part on the other pitches during the morning.

The clubhouse and bar will be open for refreshments and food will be on sale.

Ely Outdoor Sports Association is a non-profit making organisation run by volunteers.

Its objectives are to provide sporting and social facilities for its member clubs – Ely City Hockey Club, Ely Tigers Rugby Club and Ely Tennis Club – as well as to the wider community.

The hockey club has three men’s and three ladies teams alongside a thriving junior section with over 120 five to 16 years old. All abilities are welcome.

For more information visit: www.elyoutdoorsports.co.uk/ or www.pitchhero.com/clubs/elycityhockey

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