East London Schools get into World Cup fever

Primary school festival east london
The East London Hockey Festival saw 1000 children take to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre hockey, celebrating one month to go until the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup. 

On Thursday we welcomed 34 schools and 340 children from across five London Boroughs in a minis festival. They were also lucky enough to meet and greet the England squad, where many of them made good luck posters for the squad ahead of the World Cup later in July. 

Rebecca Ellis, the PE lead at Ellen Wilkinson Primary School in Beckton, said:
"Today has been amazing – most of our children haven’t done much hockey but we were supported with some coaching from England Hockey a few weeks ago where we got a great taster for it ahead of today. They have really enjoyed it – the year sixes are moving into secondary school next year so hopefully they will pick it up at school.

"We live in a challenging borough where there are lots of things that children will be faced when they grow up and I am a firm believer if children are involved in sport - especially in team sport - that they will keep them out of trouble, off the streets and giving them positive life skills to take on further."

Giselle autographs

Friday was the turn of the local secondary schools, with pupils from years 7 and 8 taking to the pitch. We welcomed 18 schools with 31 teams in total as part of the East London festival. They started the day watching a training match between England and Spain, which ended with an exciting shoot out, and to round off the morning they met the players pitch side for autographs and selfies! They then went on to spend the afternoon playing small-sided tournament. 
Jemma Cresswell, hockey coach at Caterham High School, said: 

"Today has been great, the kids have had a fantastic time – the kids always learn so much after every festival they attend. They enjoyed the international game and loved meeting the players, it was a true eye opener for them.
"We have attended a few festivals before but this is the biggest one yet and the most games we have played. Hockey is a great sport for both boys and girls, it gives them a good idea how they can be better team mates and learn sportsmanship. This is only 20 minutes round corner, so this is great!" 

It is the turn of the clubs on Saturday, with juniors from 10 local clubs battling it out! A massive thanks to Adidas for supplying the prizes and goodies for the participants. 

This three-day festival is in conjunction with the East London Project. This project has been running since 2015 with support from Sport England and London Mayors office including multiple partners across London with the simple aim to encourage more people to play and watch hockey. 

If you would like to learn more about the project or get involved, please contact Charlie.farrow@englandhockey.co.uk.

Come along to the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup this summer - tickets start as low as £1 for U18s! You can find more info here.