John Hawley Pitch Opening

The John Hawley Memorial Garden

Close friends and family of the late John Hawley, an Engineering graduate (BEng 1973) and former Deputy Director of the University’s Corporate Information and Computer Services, came to the Goodwin Sports Centre on Wednesday 18 April 2012 to visit the new John Hawley Pitch.

The revolutionary pitch redevelopment is fit for world-class rugby and football players. The University is the first in the country to install such an extensive range of state-of-the-art playing surfaces at the Goodwin Sports Centre, catering for a variety of sports including, rugby, hockey and football.

The rugby pitch – named the John Hawley Pitch – is the result of the vision and generosity of the late John Hawley. John played for the University’s Rugby League Club and his wish was to make a significant charitable donation to the University in order to enhance student sports.

His widow, Pauline Ellis, said, “We are delighted to see the installation of the new John Hawley Pitch. Sport, especially Rugby League, meant a lot to John and it is fitting tribute to see so many students benefiting from his support.”

Andrew Gwilliam, Alumni Rugby League member and former Rugby League Club player, said, “John arrived at Sheffield when the Rugby League team was in its first years. He regularly spoke fondly of his memories of these early days and enjoyed reminiscing about the camaraderie and the great friendships he made. The generous donation left to the University is testament to exactly how much of an influence the Rugby League Club had on his life. The John Hawley Pitch will go on to benefit many young people’s lives, just as University sport benefited John’s life all those years ago.”

Family and Friends of John Hawley gather on the pitch

In addition to the John Hawley Pitch, a memorial garden is situated at the main entrance to the lower pitches, overlooking the area supported by John’s family. The centre point of the John Hawley Memorial Garden is a stone circle with a bench surrounded by raised planters. Simon Frost, General Manager of Sport Sheffield, commented, “It is fantastic that the Hawley family have been so generous in their donation. The pitches at Goodwin Sports Centre make a significant contribution to the student experience and will assist with the development of many community groups.”