An Oakham sports teacher has been practising what she teaches while representing England and Great Britain at hockey around the world.
Ellie Watton, 24, who teaches at Oakham School, is currently out training in the US with the Great Britain squad.
Watton, who lives in Oakham, is a member of the senior England and GB women’s hockey team
Her rise to the top of the English game is all the more remarkable because unlike so many she was never capped for England at junior level.
However, in February last year, Watton ran out for her country for the first time against South Africa and was added to the GB centralised training squad in April, on a part-time basis, in preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Watton said: “Playing for England is something that I never thought would happen for me, having trialled as a junior and never been selected to play at under-18 or under-21 international level.
“To get my first caps in South Africa in February was quite emotional and a dream come true, but I am now striving for bigger and better things.
“I want to have a regular place in the England squad as I am currently on the edge and the big dream is to make it to Rio in 2016.
“I always feel very proud when I pull on my shirt.”
Watton, captain of the first team at Beeston Hockey Club in Nottingham, now trains and plays hockey three days a week while teaching at Oakham part-time.
Sherecently returned from Prague where the attacking midfielder played in the Indoor European Championships .
England finished 7th out of eight teams but it was the team’s first year in the top league having been promoted from Division One into the Premiership last year.
Next up for Watton and England are USA and New Zealand before preparing for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
And Watton has big hopes for the future.
She said: “To play in a major international tournament for the first time is my next goal and from that hopefully to go to the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Along the way she has been supported by her pupils and staff at Oakham School.
She said: “They all think it is great especially the younger ones.
“They are always asking me how my hockey is going and asking if I have been selected to go to Rio yet.”