Hockey’s Danson leads way for stars on Lottery duty

From UK Sport

British sports stars who are funded by The National Lottery have given more than 17,000 volunteering appearances in schools and communities since 2012 alongside their training for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Hockey's Alex Danson received the SJA Committee Award from Sarah Juggins. There was poignancy when Dabson spoke about two recent tragedies in her sport, hockey
Alex Danson, left, received the SJA Committee Award last December from Sarah Juggins. The hockey player has made more public appearances than any other Lottery-funded competitor

In return for the continued Government and National Lottery investment in preparation for Rio, members of British teams made a commitment to give back up to five days per year to inspire children and young people through sport.

Over the past four years, the 1,300 summer and winter sport competitors supported by UK Sport have delivered coaching and mentoring and shared their inspirational stories with schools and communities, and it is estimated they have reached over 730,000 young people through these activities.

The British public who play The National Lottery have now raised more than £35 billion for good causes since the lottery’s launch in 1994.

Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, said: “National Lottery players have helped transform the prospects of talented athletes in this country, which has taken our Olympic and Paralympic teams from strength to strength, seen them soar up the medal table and made the nation proud.

“It’s brilliant to see that our athletes have given back over 17,000 days on the road to Rio through volunteering in schools and communities, harnessing the power of sport to inspire the nation.”

Hockey player and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Alex Danson has completed 209 appearances, the greatest number of volunteering days of all National Lottery funded athletes over the past four years. She said: “Without volunteers and people that inspired me, there is no way I would ever have played hockey, let alone had the honour of playing for my country.

“My first coach was a volunteer, he inspired me to improve. I remember a GB player Mandy Nicholson coming to train my team for an afternoon and I literally didn’t stop practicing what she taught me for months.

“Throughout my career I have been motivated, encouraged, supported and coached by so many incredible people. These experiences have led me to believe it is a privilege as athletes to give back whenever we can.”

The Paralympian who has completed the most volunteering days since London is Boccia player and multiple Paralympic medallist, David Smith, with 125.

He said: “I felt it was very important to give something back. With Boccia being not so well known and searching for the next generation, this is doubly important. I’d like to thank the National Lottery, whose funding has enabled me to do this both in my local community and around the country.”