ODIHAM'S Olympic gold-medal winning champion joined more than 350 school children to host a day of hockey fun at a leisure centre.

Alex Danson, who won gold at Rio 2016 as part of Team GB’s women’s hockey team, visited Hart Leisure Centre on Thursday last week to inspire more primary school children to pick up a stick and give the game a try.

Everyone Active has teamed up with the sports star to introduce an innovative hockey programme in local schools and at its centres.

The Alex Danson Hockey Academy aims to give more children the chance to get active by offering them access to fun, engaging training sessions led by expert coaches.

This event offered an opportunity for children from 12 schools to learn a number of skills and drills from Alex herself as well as seeing her gold medal.

Alex said: “These children could be our future Olympians, and it was great to see how much they enjoyed getting active.

“I am delighted to have teamed up with Everyone Active to give more young people the opportunity to play hockey. Research shows the importance of engaging children in physical activity before the age of 11 to increase their chances of staying active into later life. The Academy is designed to do this, and I hope this event inspired the children to keep playing and give more sports a try.”

The event also marks the conclusion of Hart Leisure Centre’s first year in operation. The first anniversary will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday with a weekend of free activities at the centre.

Councillor Gerry Crisp, Chairman of the Council, attended the event and said: “It was lovely to see the number of young children taking part in this event and having an enjoyable day. Many thanks to Everyone Active for organising the event and to Alex Danson for taking the time to engage with the local community. We hope to see many more events like these in the future.”