King’s Lynn Olympic gold-winning hockey coach Danny Kerry receives MBE from Queen
The Lynn-born coach who led Great Britain to Olympic hockey glory has received his MBE from the Queen.
Danny Kerry collected the honour, bestowed in recognition of his services to the sport, at Buckingham Palace on Friday.
And he rated the ceremony among the most momentous moments of his life.
He said: “This was a wonderful occasion with my mum, dad and Lisa (Kerry’s wife).
“I met some incredible people, not least of course, the Queen. Of course, there were many, many people involved in the successes over the years and the award is as much for them as me personally.”
Among the people lining up to congratulate Mr Kerry on his award were members of the British squad who he led to the Olympic gold medal in Rio last year.
His captain in Brazil, Kate Richardson-Walsh, tweeted a picture of her former coach with the Queen with the comment: “What a great pic! Congratulations @Danny_Kerry Hope you had a lovely day with your fam.”
Susannah Townsend said: “So proud of our coach Danny Kerry on receiving this MBE, a top bloke and thoroughly deserved.”
And midfielder Hannah MacLeod tweeted: “Congratulations Danny, great to see you getting some well-deserved recogition. Take the time to savour it.”
In the past 18 months, Danny has masterminded an Olympic gold medal, provided coaching advice to the England rugby union coach Eddie Jones, been headhunted by international teams across the globe and suffered a heart attack while leading England women on their latest medal quest.
Last week was his first week back at work since suffering a heart attack in July while on duty with England hockey in South Africa.
At a recent talk and book launch at Pelicans Hockey Club, where he first played hockey as a teenager, he said that quitting coaching in the wake of the heart attack had “never crossed my mind”.
But he added: “I do need to relax more, I used to really struggle to switch off after a game, but I know that is something I must learn to do.
“But I am as keen as ever and there are exciting times ahead for England Hockey, particularly the home World Cup next year.”
Since taking up the reins as head coach to Great Britain and England women’s hockey team, Mr Kerry has led the team to a string of successes, including Olympic bronze at the London 2012 Olympics, European gold in 2015 and, of course, Olympic gold in 2016.
He has set the bar high for the next few years, saying that his ambition now was for his team to go to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and “win as winners”.
He said: “It’s been a wonderful time for me, we’ve come an incredibly long way, and I’m very proud of what the girls have achieved.
“We’ve been to the pinnacle of the sport in terms of the Olympic gold, and we’re very much trying to do it again now.”
In the coming year, Kerry’s England team face three big challenges, starting with the Hockey World League finals in New Zealand next month.
They then head to Australia’s Gold Coast in the spring for the Commonwealth Games, before hosting the World Cup tournament in London next summer.