Sunderland mum’s pride as daughter wins international hockey competition as part of England team

England hockey player Laura Collins, who was part of the team which won the Exin Masters World Cup for the over 35 category, with mum Valerie.
England hockey player Laura Collins, who was part of the team which won the Exin Masters World Cup for the over 35 category, with mum Valerie.

A Wearside mum has spoken of her pride after her daughter was part of an England team which swept to victory at an international hockey tournament.

Laura Collins was in the England over 35 squad which has won the Exin Masters World Cup competition in Spain.

England were unbeaten throughout the tournament, and won a tight final 1-0 against Australia.

Sunderland-raised Laura, 39, who was at one point a RNLI lifeguard in the city, grew up in the High Barnes area before moving away to study at university.

Her mum Valerie Hughes, 71, was there to watch some of the team’s games.

“Laura mentioned that it came about around four months ago,” said Valerie.

“I went over to watch a few of the games and it was played in the most remarkable spirit.

“The whole competition was quite informal and the players were able to mix with their families.

“England worked their way through to the final and they did very well.

“The support from players for the other teams was also fantastic.

“There was a lovely atmosphere throughout.”

Laura, who plays centre forward, took up hockey as a youngster, playing for Ashbrooke in Sunderland.

She then went on to study at Loughborough University and now works as a physiotherapist.

She is married to Chris, 40, and mum to Cooper, nine, Lexi, seven, and Jonpy, four.

“She has played hockey since she was nine,” added Valerie.

“But she’s been married and had a break from it until about 18 months ago when she decided at the age of 38 that she wanted to start playing again.

“She now plays for a team in Olton in the Midlands.”

Also following the team’s progress was Laura’s sister Sara, 49, and dad Colin, 73.

“It was a superb tournament and I’m very proud of Laura and the team,” added Valerie.

“For Laura to do all of the training while working and bringing up her children at the same time is some achievement.”