Great Britain and England captain Kate Richardson-Walsh MBE and ex-international player, coach and performance analyst Maggie Souyave OBE have both been named in the New Year Honours list in recognition of their services to hockey.
Kate Richardson-Walsh MBE – Stockport, Manchester and Maidenhead, Berkshire.
England and Great Britain Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh made her international debut back in 1999 when Maggie Souyave was Head Coach and has since made over 330 appearances for her country, captaining her side since 2003. London 2012 was the Mancunian’s third Olympics and Glasgow 2014 marked her fourth Commonwealth Games, where she was also selected to be Team England’s flag bearer for the closing ceremony. Across a 15 year career Richardson-Walsh has won European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic medals with perhaps the highlight of these being a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games and more recently a silver during the summer when England came agonisingly close to claiming gold, but lost out to Australia in the final seven seconds in the Commonwealth Games Final.
Richardson-Walsh has recently taken a sabbatical away from hockey, but will be back in full-time training from January as Great Britain begin preparations for the Olympic Qualifying tournament [World League Semi Final] in June.
Speaking about the MBE Richardson-Walsh said:
“It’s so hard to sum up in words, but I feel really proud and just so lucky to be able to do the job I do. I want to do it for as long as I can. I’ve had so many lovely messages from teammates past and present, friends and family; I could never have achieved any of this without their support. I feel so privileged to be part of the ever growing hockey family, this sport is so special because of all the volunteers who give up their time to inspire people like me to pick up a stick. I’d also like to thank UK Spot and the lottery and everyone who buys a ticket each week to support so many athletes to do the jobs we do.”
Kate also went on to commenting about receiving an MBE alongside Maggie Souyave’s OBE:
“Maggie taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about being the best I could be. She started it all off for me when I was 15 playing at Bowdon Hightown and then giving me my first England cap in 1999. She’s had such an incredible career in this sport and certainly helped me to understand what it would take to stay at the top of my game. If I can achieve a tiny bit of what Maggie has achieved across the 40 years she’s been involved in the sport then I will be very proud.”
Click here to see full profile for Kate Richardson-Walsh.
Maggie Souyave OBE – Ambergate, Derbyshire
Souyave played her first international match in 1974 and went on to represent Great Britain and England 120 times, winning a gold medal in the World Cup in 1975 as a player and gold again in the European Indoor Championships as coach in 1996. Alongside a fantastic international career Souyave taught PE at Queen Mary’s School [Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire] and Merchant Taylors’ School [Crosby, Liverpool] for 20 years. After retiring from teaching in 1995 she took up the post of Director of Player Performance at England Hockey and then became women’s head coach from 1996-2000 during which time she selected Kate Richardson-Walsh to make her international debut. Following a successful spell as coach, where her side claimed silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Souyave turned her hand to performance analysis, a position which she held for 14 years until she retired earlier this year after watching Richardson-Walsh captain her side to another silver medal at Glasgow 2014. With a career that stretched over 40 years at school, club and national levels Souyave has been awarded an OBE in recognition for her services to hockey.
Speaking about the OBE Souyave said:
”I’ve had a really great morning with my friends and family who put on a celebration breakfast for me. It’s such an honour to be awarded an OBE, and to receive it alongside Kate’s MBE feels really significant and is quite emotional for me. I gave Kate her first cap back in 1999 and I’ve been so proud to watch her grow into the person and athlete she’s become. Across my 40 years in hockey I’ve worked with so many colleagues and great friends along the way who have helped me enjoy a fabulous career in a sport which has been my life I suppose in many ways since I was about 11. I’m immensely proud to have been a part of the hockey family and the reason I’ve had such longevity is because of the number of friends I’ve made and the amount of support I’ve had. If I had to pick out a couple of career highlights I would say captaining England both indoors and outdoors and introducing the Queen to the team in front of a packed crowd at Wembley; those are moments I’ll always remember.”
Great Britain and England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday has commented on the achievements of Richardson-Walsh and Souyave by stating:
“We’re extremely proud of both Kate and Maggie. Kate has captained her country for over a decade in what is an incredible period of leadership and is an achievement we feel can be rivalled by very few sports people of this era. Maggie has had a tremendous career in hockey for over 40 years and thoroughly deserves this accolade to be bestowed on her.”
Photography Credit: Ady Kerry | England Hockey