AN Olympian and European gold medal winner officially opened new sports facilities at a school in North Yorkshire.

Hockey player Sam Quek was at Queen Mary’s School to open their new floodlit synthetic pitch and sports pavilion before leading a coaching session with girls including Games Captain, Jemima Berry, who has been selected for the North East Hockey Performance Centre.

After leading her team to Olympic gold, Sam has played on some of the biggest sporting stages in the world. After receiving ‘Man of the Match’ for her impressive performance in the final of the European Championships in 2015, where her team took home gold, it was no surprise that Sam was later announced as a member of team Great Britain for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, where she helped the team to win the first ever women’s hockey Olympic gold medal for Great Britain.

Sam said: “What wonderful facilities. I am so impressed. It has been a joy to coach on the astro, surrounded by countryside, and the pavilion is a fantastic building. The Queen Mary’s girls were fabulous and they made me feel part of the family, thank you for inviting me.”

Jemima said: “I love playing on the new astro. The surface is so fast and the floodlights allow us to practise into the evening. It was amazing to meet Sam Quek who inspired me to train hard and be the best that I can be.”

Careful plans were implemented, based on Government guidance, to allow Queen Mary’s pupils from the prep and senior school to take part in hockey sessions throughout the morning and join in the celebrations.

Head Carole Cameron said: “Queen Mary’s sporting achievements are highly regarded in the region. The new floodlit, all-weather synthetic pitch will allow our pupils to access these top-class facilities and practise for longer. These fantastic opportunities will also benefit the local community and beyond with flexible hire available throughout the year. I am thrilled that Sam Quek was able to officially open our new facilities and inspire the next generation to enjoy exercise and succeed in sport.”