Pelicans Hockey Club brought a slice of London 2012 to King’s Lynn last week when they held a Team GB training session of their own.

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The King’s Lynn club welcomed former Great Britain and England players Nick Thompson and Jo Ellis to Lynnsport as youngsters took to the astroturf for the special two-day event.

Committee member Charlie Lankfer secured the services of the pair, who taught more than 40 young Pelicans – aged between 10 and 16 – as part of the Pelicans’ Olympic celebrations last Thursday and Friday.

Chairman Mark Mills said: “We were delighted that Charlie managed to secure the Olympic hockey greats to come and inspire and coach our young Pelicans.

“We hoped that with the camp happening at the same time as the Olympics it would help inspire the next generation of hockey players for Rio 2016 and beyond. The camp’s aim was to be fun whilst ensuring the players’ focus was on improving their technique throughout the course.

“The morning sessions of each day focused on skill development and the afternoons concentrated on match play and tactical areas of the game. It was a fantastic two days and such was the support from the youngsters that the camp is planned again for the next summer.”

Thompson collected 196 caps for England and GB, scoring 56 goals, during a glittering international career which spanned 10 years. As a young player he was involved in the Seoul Olympic training squad where he pitted his wits against the players that went on to win a gold medal in 1988.

The field hockey legend became an integral part of future England and GB squads and competed in two Olympics, three World Cups, six Champion Trophies and three European Cups. He has also built up a fine reputation as one of the best coaches in the game.

Ellis decided to concentrate on hockey when she was 15 and four years later played in the Junior World Cup in Argentina (2001). She soon made her senior debut against South Africa (winning 3-0) and went on to win a silver medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

During an eight-year career, which saw her compete at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, Ellis gained 124 caps for England and GB. She has competed at a host of European Cup, Korean Cups and featured in the 2006 World Cup final. Since retiring, the hockey idol has gone on to coach thousands of young players.

It was perhaps appropriate that the Pelicans held the special two-day course to coincide with London 2012.

The King’s Lynn club’s ex-member Danny Kerry is current coach of the GB ladies who were last night set to play in the semi-finals of the Games. And current club stars, Kath Johnson – a former GB and England player who won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 – and England Under-18 ace Ella Picton still turn out for the Pelicans.

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