GB Hockey Olympic gold medallist and former Cliftonian Lily Owsley paid a two-day visit to Clifton College to open the annual Hockey Festival.
On the first day, Lily ran a hockey coaching session with a group of Year 3 pupils. Full of excitement to meet their hero in real life, the girls took turns to hold Lily’s medal and had their photo taken with her before training.
She then met with the Head Master Dr Tim Greene and caught up with Louise Catchpole, Head of Girls’ Sport at the College. Remembering her time at Clifton, Lily said: “It’s amazing to be back at the College. It is a home from home for me, as I spent so much of my life here. It has also been great to see everyone.”
She also commented on coming home after her team won gold in Rio: “For me the most important thing has been getting down to local clubs and seeing how much hockey participation has increased. It’s been great to see how people have a new-found love for the game and this has been one of our goals from the very start.”
The following day Lily made a surprise appearance at the opening of the Hockey Festival at the Clifton College Sports Ground. To the delight of Year 3 hockey players from all the Bristol schools in attendance, she opened the festival, watched the teams play and saved plenty of time for photography sessions.
Before playing for England Hockey and being selected for Team GB, Lily enjoyed a successful sporting career at Clifton College from age 13. “Getting into sport is about trying everything you can and saying yes to every opportunity because you never know what you are going to be good at; I was lucky enough to stumble into hockey here at the College. The key is to try not to specialise too early and play as much as you can for as long as possible and you’ll eventually work out what you’re good at,” she said.
Lily’s visit was well received by pupils and parents alike and the crisp autumn sunshine was perfect for a fun day out for the girls. Have a look through the photo gallery for some pictures from her visit.
Thank you, Lily, for coming to visit and being so generous with your time with all the budding young hockey players!