Helen Richardson-Walsh opens East London hockey pitch

HRW gold medal
Helen Richardson-Walsh, a gold medal winning Olympian pitched up along with John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets to open the council’s new all weather hockey pitch in Mile End park. 

The event took place at the newly completed all-weather floodlit pitch with coaching sessions delivered by East London Hockey Club for around 120  children between the ages of 8-14 years-old from local schools. 

To mark the occasion, John Biggs and Helen cut a ribbon on the pitch to ‘officially’ open the pitch. 

Helen described the pitch as ‘a terrific facility’ and she hoped it would inspire future Olympians to follow in her footsteps. Hockey has seen a 40% growth in people playing hockey in clubs since Team GB women won bronze at London 2012. 

The Olympic champion, who joined in with the children during their coaching sessions on the pitch, also said: "It has been a fantastic day meeting all the school children and seeing them all enjoying playing hockey despite it being freezing cold. 

"After speaking to the coaches here they have said how the hockey is continually growing ever since London 2012 as people have been inspired by the national team to get involved. It was part of our team’s vision to inspire a generation and it is great to see it in action."

kids playing East London 
Mr Biggs, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I am delighted that we have invested in bringing a world class hockey pitch to the community. 

"It’s very important that we continue to grow sports activity in the borough and this is a great way to encourage hockey within Tower Hamlets.

“I would also like to thank East London Hockey Club for providing coaching as well as England Hockey and PlayFootball for their support today. 

The new pitch, part funded by The London Marathon Charitable Trust, was built last summer and took three months to complete. The Mile End Astro Project replaces the old astro pitch that was nearing the end of its usable life, with high quality 2G sand dressed astro pitch that meet current England Hockey Standards. 

Councillor Abdul Mukit, Culture Member for Culture and Youth said: "I’m delighted that Tower Hamlets has this new facility that can be used by local clubs, schools and community groups so that they can take part in a wide variety of sport and physical activity programmes.’’

(Photo credit: Kios Miah, Tower Hamlets Council)