Olympic hockey gold medallist opens Rugby school’s new sports hall

Helen Richardson-Walsh poses for a selfie with Rugby High School PE teachers NNL-170516-155115001
Helen Richardson-Walsh poses for a selfie with Rugby High School PE teachers NNL-170516-155115001

Olympic hockey gold medallist Helen Richardson-Walsh officially opened Rugby High School’s new £1.4m sports hall last Thursday.

The GB hockey player unveiled a commemorative plaque at a ceremony in the new hall attended by the whole school plus dignitaries and special guests.

Rugby High new sports hall NNL-170516-154826001

Rugby High new sports hall NNL-170516-154826001

Helen, who scored the winning penalty in the Olympic final at Rio 2016, gave an inspirational speech encouraging the pupils to ‘aim for the moon, as even if you miss you’ll land among the stars’.

Speeches from Rugby High head teacher Charlotte Marten and others thanked the numerous people who worked tirelessly to secure funding for the state-of-the-art facility.

The ceremony was interjected with music and poetry from talented pupils, each receiving rapturous applause from their peers.

Ms Marten said: “We were so honoured that Helen agreed to come and open our new hall.

Helen Richardson-Walsh NNL-170516-155004001

Helen Richardson-Walsh NNL-170516-155004001

“It is already making a huge difference to students’ experience of sport.

“It is so important that students exercise regularly and keep fit.

“This is a facility for the whole community. I’m really pleased that clubs are already beginning to hire it outside of school hours.

“We are really grateful to everyone who helped to make our dream a reality.”

Many of the students took part in a ‘festival of rounders’ after the ceremony as Helen signed autographs and posed for selfies with the excited pupils and her gold medal.

The grammar school’s growth in recent years to four-form entry, amounting to around 120 pupils per year, meant there was simply not enough space in the sports hall built in the 1960s.

A £1.4m Department for Education grant was used to pay for the building, which replaces the old gym and allows pupils to do trampolining and badminton.