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Rio 2016 champion surprises dedicated Olympic Park hockey volunteer

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 July 2018

Hockey maker Hamid O'Toole with Olympic champion Helen Richardson-Walsh at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Camelot

Hockey maker Hamid O'Toole with Olympic champion Helen Richardson-Walsh at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Camelot

Chris Ratcliffe/Camelot

A hockey volunteer who hasn't missed a minute of events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in more than two years has been recognised for his passion and dedication.

Hockey maker Hamid O'Toole at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/CamelotHockey maker Hamid O'Toole at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Camelot

Hamid O’Toole, who is currently helping out at the women’s world cup taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, was surprised by Olympic gold medal-winning player Helen Richardson-Walsh during the first game of the tournament.

During half time in the Germany vs South Africa match, the announcer invited the crowd to thank Hamid for his tireless work.

He was then invited onto the pitch, where Helen, who was part of Great Britain’s Rio 2016 team, thanked him personally for his efforts.

Hamid, 32, said: “The whole experience was amazing and a very unexpected surprise. Meeting Helen was a highlight.

Hockey maker Hamid O'Toole at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/CamelotHockey maker Hamid O'Toole at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Camelot

“I became a hockey maker volunteer a few years ago as I like helping others and it is a great chance to meet new people. “I like working with the spectators and helping the public.”

The special thankyou was organised as part of the National Lottery’s Big Surprise, which sees a 90 second video aired during the ad break of ITV Saturday night prime time shows to highlight people involved in National Lottery schemes who have made a real difference.

Hamid, whose meeting with Helen will be aired this weekend, has been involved in a variety of volunteer roles with England Hockey but has really settled in as part of the spectator services team, helping and encouraging fans.

Nicky Milford, assistant event manager at the world cup, said: “Hamid has not allowed his learning difficulties to stop him and has grown a lot over his years of service to England Hockey.

“He’s become an invaluable member of our hockey maker team and greets everyone with a lovely smile.

“He has put in over 600 volunteering hours, and hasn’t missed a single domestic or international event that has been hosted here at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre over the past two years.”

Hamid’s surprise will air across the ITV network at 8.30pm on Saturday.

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