Wellington School’s new astro pitch was officially opened on Friday 8 September by Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Danson and Great Britain hockey player Tom Carson who is an Old Wellingtonian.
Before an audience of pupils, parents, staff, Friends of Wellington School and Wellington Mayor Gary James the two internationals joined in coaching sessions for the school’s players before the formal ribbon-cutting.
Headmaster Henry Price introduced Tom Carson by saying how proud he and the school were that a former pupil had earned no fewer than 77 Great Britain caps. Introducing Alex Danson he confessed to feeling “nervous” about being in the presence of a player who played such an important role in winning gold at the Rio Olympics. He thanked them both for their contribution to the event and added that the new pitch would offer players both at the school and in the Wellington community an exceptional and valuable sporting facility.
Alex Danson is the most capped player in the Senior Women’s Teams for both Great Britain and England having made her England debut in October 2001. She won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to hockey. As the England Women’s Hockey Captain she led the team through to the last four in the semi finals of the world league in June 2017. She launched the Alex Danson Hockey Academy in 2017 aimed at introducing young children to the sport through their schools to increase awareness and participation in hockey at grass roots level.
Before cutting the ribbon to open the new pitch she said she hoped pupils and local players would “follow their dreams” in sport as she had done, starting at school.
Tom Carson made his debut for Great Britain in 2013 having played for Exeter University and England – his goal saw England through to a bronze medal at the Hero Hockey World League Final in January 2014. He plays club hockey for Reading. Tom may also be remembered for appearing on Dragon’s Den whilst still at university and, together with his business partner Chris Rea, turning down an offer of £75,000 for a 40% stake in their company Young Ones Apparel to retain their brand independence.
Wellington Fox’s Hockey Club – founded 12 months ago – is holding a pre-season taster afternoon for both junior and senior players on Sunday 10 September at Wellington School’s astro from 3pm to 5pm. Details of the club can be found on http:/wellingtonfox.clubbuzz.co.uk.