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Impressive new hockey pitch opened at Stewarton Academy

Pupils at Stewarton Academy are celebrating the official opening of their Impressive new hockey pitch, as part of an ambitious £13.5m extension and refurbishment programme.

The synthetic pitch is built to national competition standard and marks the completion of the first phase of the works - with an athletics sprint track and changing facilities due to be added later this year.

Head Teacher Katy Hegarty welcomed guests to the school for the opening ceremony saying: “It’s exciting to see the different phases of work coming together at the school and the hockey pitch looks amazing!

“We’ve already had pupils playing on it and it’s brilliant that the sport can be played in all weathers without the ground becoming waterlogged.

“Having that flexibility really does add a new dimension to our sports offering and when the sprint track, long jump and changing facilities are complete our pupils and community will have unrivalled facilities.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council added: “The hockey pitch at Stewarton Academy is a superb addition for the school and community, offering first class facilities for a sport in growth.

“The Council is fully committed to making sure every young person has access to a first class education and I’m proud our investment plans include developing high quality sports facilities which will also extend to community and club use.

“Hockey is an exciting, growth sport and Scotland is doing well in the world rankings, with the women’s team inside the top 20.

“I hope these fantastic facilities will motivate and inspire our pupils and who knows – with the next Olympics just over a year away and the Commonwealth Games in 2022 – maybe a Stewarton pupil might be in the national squad?”

Councillor Reid then introduced Rhona Simpson, former Olympic and Commonwealth Games hockey player for Team GB and Scotland who officially opened the new pitch and said:

“I’m overjoyed to be here and to have the honour of opening this incredible pitch. Hockey has given me the most wonderful life and I’ve travelled and made friends all over the world thanks to the sport.

“It’s an exciting, fast-paced game that develops stamina, character, builds teamwork, self-confidence and resilience and many of the skills I use in my career today were forged on a hockey pitch.

“I’m delighted to officially open the pitch and look forward to seeing this great game grow and prosper in the local area!”

Notes to editors

The Stewarton hockey pitches were built by WH Malcolm Limited, who also constructed the world-class rugby pitches at the new £68 million Barony Campus in Cumnock,

Rhona Simpson played for Scotland more than 280 times and was Scotland’s most-capped hockey player and top goal scorer. She has twice represented Great Britain at the Summer Olympics (1996 and 2000) and represented Scotland at the Kuala Lumpur 1998, Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.