SHE MIGHT be known for running naughtily through wheatfields, but who knew that our former Prime Minister was also a dab hand at hockey?
Theresa May visited Sonning Hockey Club on Saturday to christen its new astroturf pitch, which will be pressed into use from the new season this week.
The Maidenhead MP, whose constituency includes parts of Sonning, Twyford, Wargrave and Ruscombe, popped in to the club to admire the new surface and congratulate members of their new partnership with Osaka World.
The hockey brand’s link-up is the first such in the UK and it will sponsor the club for at least the next four seasons.
Also lending their support is chartered financial planners Eight Wealth Management as corporate sponsor.
As part of its support, Osaka World provided a new shirt for players at every level, as well as creating a bespoke range of branded lifestyle wear. Eight Wealth Management have gifted the club brand-new match-day goals for the new season.
As Mrs May is a regular visitor to the club, it’s no surprise that they were able to attract one of the biggest names in the country for the opening ceremony – and organisers said that her aim was perfect as she scored the first goal on the new playing surface.
She told people: “It is great to be able to attend the opening of Sonning Hockey Club’s new AstroTurf. This marks the culmination of many years of dedicated fundraising by the club.
“I know how important sports, and especially hockey are for the local community and it is great to see this kind of local initiative taking place.
“Sonning Hockey Club is an important fixture of local life and I pay tribute to the tireless campaigning of so many to finally see this come to fruition.”
Osaka World aims to make hockey accessible to all and already sponsors some of the best hockey teams in Europe, including HC Bloemendaal (Netherlands), KHC Dragons (Belgium) and HC Rotterdam (Netherlands).
Its CEO, Frank Boschman, said: “Over the past few years we have teamed up with some of Europe’s elite hockey teams. Partnering with Sonning Hockey Club was an easy decision, we can see the ambition in the club and we hope they can replicate the success of other teams we sponsor.
“It is important for us as a company to have a presence in UK and we believe Sonning Hockey Club ticks all the boxes that we’ve been looking for.”
The club was delighted with the compliment. President Edward Butler said: “Like the vast majority of sports clubs across the country, Sonning Hockey Club has been impacted by the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, but we are looking forward to re-engaging with hockey with renewed vigour.
“We love our sport, but of equal importance is the social dynamic – which is integral to our club ethos. In this spirit, it is gratifying to know that local people and organisations value our contribution within the local community and have demonstrated a willingness to support us in our efforts.”
The pitch will be used from the new season with match reports appearing in our sports section.