Golden moment as coach Danny returns to his roots in King’s Lynn

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152225009
Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152225009

Gold medal winning hockey coach Danny Kerry returned to his home town as guest of honour at the annual West Norfolk primary schools’ Quicksticks festival.

For the coach, who led the Great Britain women’s hockey team to Olympic Gold in Rio this year, this was a step back in time.

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152414009

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152414009

He explained to the young players who eagerly crowded around him at Alive Lynnsport: “It’s where it all began for me, I played hockey at school (KES) and Pelicans before going on to university.”

More than 150 children from years five and six took part in the tournament, which was organised by the West Norfolk School Sports Partnership.

The brains behind the event is Tracey Bower, who is School Sport Co-ordinator.

She explained how the tournament relied heavily upon a large volunteer workforce.

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152331009

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152331009

Mrs Bower said: “This tournament has grown each year.

“There are 20 schools represented here and for the day to run successfully we need team managers, umpires for each pitch and a number of officials to keep things running smoothly and safely.

“We couldn’t do this without help from the parents, volunteers from Pelicans hockey club and the young Sports Leaders from the local secondary schools.”

For the children the day certainly had an added frisson. Between matches, the young players dashed over to Danny to get his autograph.

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152214009

Olympic women's hockey gold-medal-winning coach Danny Kerry, was at Alive Lynnsport, to watch a schools hockey tournament and meet the players taking part. ANL-160930-152214009

The coach signed bags, shin-pads, shirts, socks and trainers as well as the more conventional match day programmes.

He was the man in charge of the team as it stormed to a gold medal in Rio with a win over Holland in the final.

Mr Kerry said: “It is fantastic to see so many youngsters being introduced to the sport in this way.

“I have been up and down the country in recent weeks where this scene is being played out at clubs and schools. I am delighted that our success in Rio is proving such an inspiration.

“When the GB team gathered before Rio and spoke about the aims and ambitions, one of the things we all agreed upon was that we wanted to inspire people of all ages to play hockey and create a legacy for the sport.

“This is fantastic,” said one young player from Gayton Primary School.

“They said he was coming to watch but I didn’t really believe the Great Britain coach would come and watch us. It’s epic.”

Another pupil asked Danny how he felt about his job.

He laughed and replied: “It is tough at times, especially when you have to make selection decisions, but really it is the best job in the world.”

The tournament was won by Ashwicken Primary School, with South Wootton Striders taking second place.