Olympic gold hockey player opens new Ely astro turf pitch
- Credit: Archant
An Olympic gold athlete joined the family of a former hockey enthusiast for the official opening of a new astro turf pitch costing £198,000.
The new Trevor Hopkinson pitch replaces the old one which athletes say had become too dangerous to use.
GB hockey player Helen Richardson-Walsh officially opened the new pitch and afterwards mingled with young hockey players.
Julia Gilbert, director of Ely Outdoor Sports Association, said: “What a lovely tribute to one of the driving forces behind getting the new astro pitch and that his widow Kate and the family could be there to see him honoured.
“It was a wonderful day, made even more special by the glorious weather. Not only were we honoured to have the lovely Helen officially open the pitch for us, we were also able to honour all that Trevor had done for the club.”
Paul Massey, chairman of Ely City Hockey Club, said: “The sun shines on the righteous, and the righteous are shining on us today,” referring to Trevor, who devoted years to the club and made it the place it is today.
Helen said: “When I come back to clubs and I see all of you, it reminds me of where I stated. I can see the pride that you have in this club, I can really feel it.”
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The midfielder has been a member of the England and Great Britain women’s field hockey teams since 1999, and a member of the GB team that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Following the ceremony, members of Ely City Hockey Club ladies played a match against the Ely Ladies Legends and the Club men played a match against the Ely Presidents.
In 2017 a fund-raising appeal for £198,000 was launched to replace the old astro pitch which had become so worn it was dangerous to play on.
Grants were secured from Sport England, the Amey Community Fund, the National Hockey Foundation and East Cambridgeshire District Council, as well as generous donations from local companies including G’s Fresh, A L Lee Farming and J Gilbert & Son Ltd.
Local charitable trusts also gave support.
Julia said: “Together with various fund raising events we managed to reach our target last August and work started on the replacement pitch in October 2018.
“The pitch was finished in mid January 2019. It is a vital and much used community asset.”