Team GB stars and Fulham FC open new all-weather pitch for school

By Peter McNamara

Two Team GB hockey players, including one Olympic gold medallist, attended the official opening of a new sports ground as part of an ongoing effort to improve sports offered to pupils.

Olympic gold medal winner Giselle Ansley and hockey star Chris Griffiths opened the new all-weather sports pitch at the Blagdons Sports Ground in Beverley Way, Merton at the weekend, which will be used by pupils at Emmanuel School in Battersea Rise.

They were joined by Merton’s cabinet member for sport, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah and Cllr Hina Bokhari, as well as Robert Milne, headmaster of Emanuel School.

The project was completed in collaboration with the Fulham Football Club Foundation, which provides weekly disability football in partnership with the school.

Mike McSweeney, chief executive of the Fulham Football Club Foundation, said: “Fulham Football Club Foundation has a proud history of curating and supporting programmes tailored to girls’ and disability sport.

“We can already see the difference the new facilities will make to our offer and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Emanuel School.”

The day began with girls’ and disability sport on the new all-weather pitch as well as rugby, cricket and boat club athletes joining the hockey players in all-star matches.

Emanuel headmaster Mr Milne said: “We are proud of our well-established community partnership and outreach work, which will see local sporting groups and charities using the all-weather pitch.

“The new pitches at Blagdons also allow us to offer a broader range of co-educational sport, netball, tennis, football and hockey, on top of the existing cricket and rugby pitches, to meet the growing demand for girls’ sport.”

The development, which was approved last August by Merton council, has meant that the number of pitches on the ground has grown from 29 to 35.

Pictured top: From left, Giselle Ansley and hockey star Chris Griffiths, Cllr Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, Robert Milne, headmaster of Emanuel School, and Cllr Hina Bokhari (Picture: Steve Porter Pictures)

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