World Cup winner and England football legend Sir Geoff Hurst was on hand to open a new 3G pitch at Chigwell School.

The former West Ham and Stoke City striker – the only man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final – joined pupils for the opening of the synthetic turf pitch on Thursday, April 22.

The star man when England won the World Cup with a 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley Stadium in 1966, and now a Chigwell resident, shared anecdotes of his footballing career; from training at nearby Grange Farm, to playing with Bobby Moore OBE, and how he has seen such a positive move forward in the development of girls’ football.

Giving advice to the school’s budding footballers, he drilled home how important attitude is, and advised pupils not to worry about winning or losing, but to concern themselves with improving.

He added: “Enjoy your football together and improve your performance - as a team player. Don’t be greedy or selfish, improve your own game and that within your team.”

Headmaster Michael Punt said: "At Chigwell we believe sport is important to the development of the whole person – learning to work with others as part of a team and to play, win and occasionally lose well. This new facility will have a tremendous impact on what we are able to offer pupils at Chigwell but we are also very keen that it benefits our friends across the community too.

“Sir Geoff Hurst will have inspired the pupils who heard him speak at the opening, their job is now to become an inspiration to others."

Ros Serrelli, chair of Governors, added: "Football is a major sport at Chigwell, for both boys and girls throughout the School. This facility will be enjoyed by thousands of young players at Chigwell and is truly a 21st Century facility within our 400-year-old school setting.

“However, it is more than that – it is a facility for the whole community. Grass roots football teaches young people team spirit, hard work, respect, perseverance and dedication. We are delighted at Chigwell to be part of and to support our community and grassroots football.”

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