As Royal Patron of England Hockey, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex made the official presentation of the England Hockey Member of Honour Award yesterday to Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE.
The highest accolade in England Hockey, the Member of Honour Award is an invitation-only honour bestowed on people who have given the organisation exceptional service over a sustained period of time. Awarded at the sole discretion of the England Hockey Board of Directors, Richardson-Walsh joins only six other recipients of the prestigious award – Ben Rea, Chris Darling, Maggie Souyave, Martin Gotheridge and Lee Cousins.
Kate Richardson-Walsh is the most decorated and most capped women’s player in the history of England and Great Britain Hockey and her achievements in the sport are unparalleled.
After becoming the team captain at the age of just 23 she captained the England and Great Britain teams to impressive victories for the next 13 years – from 2003 until 2016 – and played 375 games, won 19 major medals and scored 49 goals. Her accomplishments also include leading Great Britain to a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics while suffering from a broken jaw after being hit by a stick in an opening match against Japan. Instead of bowing out Richardson-Walsh underwent surgery and was back in action for the team’s penultimate game against China having missed only three games.
In 2015 Richardson-Walsh captained the team to a Unibet EuroHockey Championship gold in London and followed this win with Olympic gold at the 2016 games in Rio in front of a worldwide audience of almost 10 million people.
Of Richardson-Walsh’s receiving the award England Hockey said: “Her CV speaks for itself, and it is only right that she is recognised in this manner.”
The Countess of Wessex became Royal Patron of England Hockey – the representative body for the sport of hockey in England – in 2006 and has made frequent visits to support and encourage the organisation in the years since. She is patron to more than 70 charities and organisations altogether.