Rupert House was excited to welcome Team GB and Reading Hockey player, Jo Ellis, on Tuesday to officially open the school’s new all-weather astroturf pitch situated within the school grounds. The pitch represents a significant expansion of sporting provision for all existing and prospective pupils, providing a top quality surface that can be used for hockey, netball, football, tag rugby and mini-tennis.
The school governors, parents and children from local primary schools were invited along for the occasion.
Following speeches from Clare Lynas, the Head, and Charles Lowe, the Rupert House Chair of Governors, Jo Ellis spoke to the children before cutting the ribbon across the entrance to the pitch.
Jo has represented GB & England 87 times. She played in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as part of Team GB, she was European Bronze medallist in 2009 with England, part of the GB Hockey Centralised Programme from 2009-2011 at Bisham Abbey and she then captained the World Cup Masters Gold medallist team in 2018.
28 Year 4 pupils from both Nettlebed and Valley Road Schools then joined the Year 4 Rupert House pupils for a hockey masterclass held by Jo Ellis. She taught hockey skills together with Ms Nicholson, Head of Games at Rupert House, who is also an ex-Team GB Hockey player and bronze Olympic medallist.
The children had a great time practising their dribbling, tackling, shooting and defending skills. They then had the chance to watch Jo in action as she demonstrated the different methods of shooting at the goal followed by a Q&A session and a delicious match tea.
Headteacher, Clare Lynas said, “I would like to put on record my grateful thanks to the Governors of Rupert House for agreeing to make available the funds for our new pitch and, in particular, our gratitude to Neil Boddington who took on the project and made it happen for us. Neil did this in his capacity as a Governor, as well as doing his day job, and I cannot thank him enough, as it was not easy during the busy summer holiday season.
We are very excited at the thought of all the potential sporting activities that the pitch offers for us as a school and the possibilities of hosting other schools, as we are doing today.
Today, we welcome Year 4 children from two local primary schools, Valley Road and Nettlebed schools, who will take part in the hockey masterclass which will follow on from the opening ceremony.”