12:00PM, Saturday 26 September 2020
MP Theresa May scored the first goal as she opened a new artificial pitch at Sonning Hockey Club.
The new all-weather pitch was opened by the former Prime Minister on Saturday, September 12.
The socially distanced event saw Mrs May, Jonathan Sharp of Berkshire County Sports Club and Sonning Hockey Club president Edward Butler all give short speeches.
The new pitch, which Mrs May tested out at the opening, was the result of a range of fundraising efforts including pre-COVID-19 club events by both the hockey club and Berkshire County Sports Club, such as the Sonning 10k race, as well as general club fundraising, primarily by Berkshire County Sports Club.
The pitch was installed in August and will be used by Sonning Hockey Club and a range of other groups such as football teams and schools.
Mrs May said: “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.”
Edward Butler, president of Sonning Hockey Club, 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 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 opening came as the club, in Sonning Lane, was announced as a partner to hockey brand Osaka World.
The new partnership, which is Osaka World’s first in the UK, will see the sponsor support the club for the next four seasons at least.
It has provided every male, female and junior club member with a new shirt and has also produced a bespoke range of branded lifestyle wear for the club.
Financial advice firm Eight Wealth Management has also been brought on board as a new corporate sponsor.
The firm presented the club with new match-day goals for the new season.
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