Abbey Gate College welcomed former Liverpool, Manchester United and England footballer Michael Owen to formally open the school’s new state-of-the-art all-weather pitch.
Special guest and patron of the fundraising committee, Michael Owen unveiled the new facility alongside headmistress Tracy Pollard and chair to the governors Felicity Taylor as part of the school’s vision to provide outstanding sporting opportunities for everyone.
Following the ribbon cutting and speeches, pupils watched from the spectator area as Michael Owen concluded the ceremony by scoring three goals from the centre of the pitch, much to the delight of the crowd.
In the evening, celebrations continued with invited guests watching from the sports and teaching pavilion as the floodlights were switched on in dramatic sequence to reveal the new facility.
The evening included an impressive display of skills from Chester Hockey Club, led by England and Great Britain co-captain Phil Roper and pupils from Abbey Gate College.
Tracy Pollard said: “I believe passionately that sport has a place in every pupil’s life.
“We have to nurture the health and well-being of our youngsters by creating opportunities which allow them to be active in ways that they enjoy and in which they can be successful.
“I am thrilled and delighted that as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we are able to open our state-of-the-art all-weather pitch, for the use of our current and future pupils but also for the benefit of the wider community.
“We are proud to be able to provide top class facilities for use by our local community.”
The full size, floodlit all-weather pitch is the best national standard hockey facility in the North West. It is also suitable for playing tennis, football training and a variety of skills-based activities.
The multi-purpose surface will significantly increase the amount of time pupils will be able to take part in sport, practise their skills and participate in competitive fixtures.
The ambitious project, made possible through fundraising, grants and donations, stemmed from a desire and vision to extend the provision of sport for all age groups, all year round and to create a culture of being active, healthy and happy.
As well as the current pupils, the local community are also invited to make use of the new facility.