I made a decision quite soon after Rio, that I wanted to give back to where my journey started, in Oldham, and visit as many schools as I could with the gold medal and inspire them to go and achieve their dreams.
It was hugely rewarding for me, just to see their faces light up when they held or wore the medal made me feel so incredibly proud of our success and that it was also reaching further than just the hockey field.
I teamed up with Oldham HC and Oldham Council for the schools roadshow to engage with a whole range of schools. It was pretty tiring at times with doing two, sometimes three schools a day, ranging from assembly’s, Q & A’s, practical hockey sessions and classroom talks, but nonetheless it was so enjoyable and the feedback from teachers and parents through social media and messages just reinforced the importance of exactly why I was doing it. Obviously this took a lot of planning and managing but I am lucky to have recruited an amazing PA…… my mum! She has adopted the role since Rio and has done the most fantastic job in arranging and managing this roadshow and many more events around the country. In total, I visited around 70 schools and the best part is Oldham Hockey Club gained a whole new junior section from it!!
It was hugely rewarding for me, just to see their faces light up when they held or wore the medal
Off the back of Rio and giving back to Oldham, I received some more fantastic news from the council. I was awarded ‘Freewoman of the Borough’. It was a massive surprise, but what a special honour to receive from your hometown. A lady even offered me her sheep to walk through the town centre!
And it didn’t stop there! Whist sat enjoying the Pride of Oldham Awards, what I thought as a guest, I was presented with the Special Recognition Award. I was gob smacked and was trying to compose myself as I approached the stage. There were so many incredible stories and achievements that evening and so to receive this was the most amazing feeling. My journey to where I am hasn’t been perfect, but there have been so many people along the way that have encouraged and impacted upon my game, especially as a junior. Coaches, teachers, volunteers, these are the people who are behind so many athletes successes and this awards evening is a place to celebrate these kind, selfless, inspiring individuals. This was my chance to say a big thank you.