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Norwich hockey set for major boost

PUBLISHED: 09:00 06 June 2011

Hockey players in Norwich are celebrating news that the sport will soon be returning to the heart of the city after three years following the opening of a new £600,000 all-weather pitch on land at the Hewett School.

The three founder members of the Central Norwich Hockey Consortium – Town Close House School, Hewett School and Norwich Dragons Hockey Club – have provided funding, land, and project management expertise to transform a derelict cinder running track into a state-of-the-art astroturf hockey pitch, with planning permission for a second pitch already secured.

The new facility will be opened by England hockey international, Great Britain Olympian and Town Close House old boy Richard Alexander on Sunday, June 26.

Alexander will be bringing with him some of his international team-mates to play exhibition games with players from Norwich Dragons and Town Close House and will also run a hockey clinic to help players develop their knowledge and skills.

Key funding contributions for the new facility, which is operational three years after the closure of Norwich Union’s Pinebanks sports grounds, have been secured from Town Close House, Norwich Dragons Hockey Club, England Hockey Board, the National Hockey Foundation, Paul Bassham Charitable Trust and generous donations by other local benefactors and organisations.

Graeme Lowe, headmaster at Town Close House School, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this innovative, three-way partnership, giving the school a superb new facility, whilst also providing the wider community with the opportunity to play hockey in the centre of Norwich.

“The school has an outstanding reputation for hockey with plenty of our boys and girls keen to follow in Richard Alexander’s footsteps.”

Pat Andrews, vice-chair of the Hewett School Governing Body is pleased to see the land being put to community sports use.

“For many years the Hewett School Governing Body has been trying to re-develop the old cinder running track area on the south side of the Hewett site,” she said.

“The combination of the Goals five-a-side football complex and the opportunity to contribute land to the Hockey Consortium, in which the school will take an active part, has made for a very exciting project. Our students and the members of our wider community now have the opportunity to take advantage of a pair of first class sporting facilities.”

Mike Hardy, president of Norwich Dragons Hockey Club, said: “We are very excited to be bringing hockey back to the community in Norwich following the closure of our previous home at Pinebanks.

“We have an extremely enthusiastic and well qualified pool of coaches at the club who are keen to continue their voluntary work encouraging youngsters to stay in the sport, as well as increasing participation by adults through membership of Norwich Dragons Hockey Club. Speaking on behalf of the Consortium, we are very grateful to all contributors who have helped bring this facility to reality”.

To find out about playing on this new pitch, go to www.norwichdragonshc.co.uk

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