A SOUTH Lakeland hockey club has honoured a living legend who has been with them for over 20 years.

Windermere Hockey Club announced the official renaming of their pitch to the Richard Belk Arena, which it has been affectionately called for years.

The club decided to make it official with a pitch sign dressed in Windermere colours, fashioning the new name.

Mr Belk is the club secretary and has been with the club for over 20 years.  When asked by Shona Taylor, club chairwoman, to attend a training session to discuss pitch maintenance, he was surprised but delighted by the new change.

Ms Taylor, said: "Richard's immediate reaction is always to look forward to what we need to do next to keep on improving our club, but he did enjoy some bubbly and a sausage roll."

The club describes itself as an example of a social sports club that combines quality hockey with a friendly and caring atmosphere. 

Since 1988, it has grown from a single ladies team to an inclusive club with four successful teams competing at a high standard.

Ms Taylor said: "From playing, to coaching, to umpiring, Richard has really been the rock of our club.

"A couple of years ago, he drove the campaign to raise necessary funding for the replacement of the AstroTurf pitch at The Lakes School, which was opened by Tim Farron in June 2018.

"We have a close relationship with The Lakes School and Richard was instrumental in driving forward the project to obtain ClubsFirst accreditation [A scheme designed to improve the quality of training and facilities] from England hockey, which was required for our application to Lakes Leisure and the National Hockey Foundation to secure the funding for the new pitch.

"Everyone loves Richard and his commitment to our club is tremendous.

Ms Taylor continued: "The Cumbrian hockey community is very excited to get back to a normal season and WHC is extending an invite to both experienced and new players to come and join our club.

"Training is every Tuesday from 6pm and WHC would love to see you down at the Richard Belk Arena soon for a free taster session. Follow our Facebook page for details."