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Cambridge City's Andy Richardson earns the England Hockey Spirit of Hockey Award

Andy Richardson has won the England Hockey Spirit of Hockey award. Picture: Keith Heppell
Andy Richardson has won the England Hockey Spirit of Hockey award. Picture: Keith Heppell

Andy Richardson’s tireless work at Cambridge City Hockey Club has been rewarded with the England Hockey Spirit of Hockey Award.

The former chairman has been recognised for his contribution to the hockey community and going beyond the normal commitments and efforts during his nine years at the club.

The awards’ ceremony was broadcast on social media, and Great Britain and England men’s coach Danny Kerry said: “Andy has made Cambridge City Hockey Club a fully inclusive club that represents the whole community. Andy has always recognised the importance of support and has shared his passion in the game and the club across the committee.

“In eight years as chairman of Cambridge City Hockey Club, Andy has been a huge figure in the transformation of the club, with the junior and senior clubs having a combined total of over 700 members.

“Andy has played a pivotal role in bringing the Flyerz programme to Cambridge City Hockey Club and it is now offering monthly, inclusive, disability sessions.

“It’s great that Andy is still involved in the sport, still making such a contribution. Many congratulations.”

Richardson joined as a player and was an integral part of a young side that won promotion to the England Hockey League in the 2011/12 season, making his final appearance for the first team in the 2014/15 campaign.

He went on to play for the fifth team to help junior players progress through the club and, having helped instal a system of talent support, in the past few seasons has been in the second and third teams.

In addition to playing, Richardson has coached across the club, taking on the weekly men’s club session before creating a network of coaches under his supervision.

He also umpires for the club, and played a pivotal role in helping City find a permanent base at Wilberforce Road, which two seasons ago saw two new pitches added.

Richardson also set up a satellite system allowing young people to access hockey facilities, with City providing coaches and helping direct players to local clubs.

He helped introduce Flyerz Hockey, to allow people with differing physical and mental capacities to participate in the sport, and the Friday Freestylerz session, which allowed people to get back into hockey at a sociable time that suited their schedule.

Cambridge City Hockey Club's Andy Richardson. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge City Hockey Club's Andy Richardson. Picture: Keith Heppell

City’s club president Tim Ireland said: “Never seeking praise, Andy will be mortified to learn that he has been nominated for this award. But I cannot think of anyone more suited to the Spirit of Hockey Award.

“I am thrilled that Andy has won this award. Not just for him and the club but also for the Cambridge hockey community.

“He has done so much to make Cambridge City one of the best clubs in the country and fully deserves to be recognised in this way by England Hockey.”

Rio Olympic gold medalist Helen Richardson-Walsh, City ladies’ first-team coach and Andy’s sister, said: “My whole family and I are incredibly proud of Andy and the contribution he has made to hockey over the last 20 years or so.

“He epitomises the spirit and dedication of a true hockey volunteer, without whom our sport just wouldn’t be the same, and it’s really lovely to see him be recognised in this way.”

Great Britain international Tess Howard, a former City player, said: “Andy’s dedication and passion has helped build a fantastic legacy for hockey in Cambridge, I feel very fortunate to have grown up part of his club.”

Richardson is set to leave the club this summer as his family relocates to London.

And City chairman Mark Brookes said: “In the past nine years, Andy has taken a really good club to a really great club, both on and off the pitch, achieved through his infectious enthusiasm hard work and coaching.”

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