A hospice nurse who spends her days caring for seriously ill children has been selected to play ball hockey for Team GB.
Emma Pearson, 33, who works at Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire, will represent her country against teams from all around the world, in the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation Master’s World Championships, to be held in the Czech Republic in June.
The sport is the summer equivalent of ice hockey, and mum-of-one Emma can usually be found on the ice, where she plays for Blackburn Hawks men’s team and also captains Widnes Wild women’s team.
On top of her full-time job caring for children with life-limiting conditions, Emma trains three times a week on the ice, competes in games at weekends, and attends four CrossFit sessions every week to build stamina.
Now she will add an extra training programme on top of her gruelling schedule, to make sure her sprinting technique is up to scratch so she is ready to take on the world.
“I train in the evenings after work and it can mean late nights,” said Emma, of Warrington.
“I’m also halfway through a two-year qualification at work to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, which is a lot of work so I’m definitely kept busy! But although I only average about four hours sleep a night I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel better when I’ve been on the ice and I probably couldn’t cope with such a full-on job and doing my qualification without it.”
Ice hockey is a family affair for Emma, whose husband Phil also plays for Widnes Wild, as well as coaching the women’s team. Their son Henry, 4, has also got in on the act, learning the sport and how to figure skate.
The couple even made the news recently after becoming the first married couple to play on the same team in a registered league game.
“For us, ice hockey is family time because we do it together. We just love it.”
Lynn Grayson, Clinical Director at Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We’re all so proud of Emma for her fantastic achievement of being selected to play for her country – with her on the team the others don’t stand a chance!
“Emma is a wonderful nurse who works tirelessly to help our children and their families and it’s this dedication that has also seen her taking on a really difficult qualification to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner
“We’ll all excited to see how she gets on in the world championships and will be behind her all the way!”