By Beatrice Phillpotts
OLYMPIC champion hockey player Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE scored a hit when she dropped spoke to schoolchildren about the opportunities for women in sport and her personal journey.
Helen, who played a starring role in Great Britain’s Olympic gold medal triumph in Rio last year, has competed in four Olympics and is recognised as the youngest British woman to represent her country in hockey on the Olympic circuit.
Her visit to Barrow Hills School in Witley came hot on the heels of the prep school’s own recent achievement in hockey.
Its under-11 mixed hockey team reached the national finals of The Independent Association of Prep Schools tournament for the first time in the school’s history, while the under-13 team had an unbeaten season and qualified for the national finals at the National Hockey Centre in Nottingham.
The school’s head of girls’ games, Madelon Burnett, said: “The children were very excited to have the chance to meet and chat with such a legendary Olympian, especially as it was Helen who scored one of the decisive penalties in last year’s dramatic final in Rio.
“All of our hockey players – boys and girls – have been truly inspired by Helen’s motivating story, so watch this space for further news of the school’s success on the pitch.”
• The school’s annual Lent Appeal raised £2,458 for local charities.
The youngest pre-prep children were sponsored to lap the garden on their trikes and scooters, while years 1 and 2 ran; Junior Prep undertook a sponsored walk; Middle Prep held a mini fête; year 7 children held a diablo competition and older children organised a ‘dodgeball and dance’ event.
Year 8 children identified three charities to benefit: The halow project, a Guildford-based charity that works to support young people with a learning disabilities aged 16-35 on their journey into and through adult life, Addlestone-based Shooting Star Chase, which provides hospice care for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and Guildford-based Challengers, which provides play and youth centre facilities for disabled children and young people.