On Thursday, the Countess of Wessex, who has served as Royal Patron for England’s Hockey since 2006, paid a visit to Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre near Marlow in Buckinghamshire. The abbey is home for England’s hockey teams. She met with players from both the men’s and women’s squads. She also took part in a training session on the pitches. During the session, one of Sophie’s shots struck a photographer standing behind the net. The Countess was horrified, but the incident was laughed off.
The athletes are preparing for the Summer Olympics in Brazil. The Countess met England Hockey President, Sue Bodycomb and Royston Hoggarth who was just recently appointed as Chairman after the resignation of Philip Kimberley last year after holding the position for the past dozen years. She also had a chat with staff at the company offices of the National Sports Centre.
Kate Richardson-Walsh, Captain of the women’s team presented the Countess with a signed photograph of her presenting her team with the Euro hockey trophy last summer. England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday said, “I would like to sincerely thank Her Royal Highness for visiting us today, she is a fantastic Patron for England Hockey.” She mentioned how excited everyone was for Her Royal Highness to meet the new Chairman: “We were very keen for The Countess to meet Royston for the first time since he became Chairman, and for her to have the opportunity to wish both the men and women good luck for a huge summer ahead. The players are gearing up to line up for Great Britain this summer and we are hosting the Champions Trophy back at the Olympic Park in June before they depart for the Rio Olympics in August so there is lots of excitement among the hockey family and The Countess really shares in that.”
Finally, she commented on how gracious the Countess was during her visit: “As always she was exceptionally charming and personable, and we are very fortunate to have her support.”