Thomas, a bronze medal winner at London 2012, chatted to star-struck youngsters and posed for pictures before cutting the ribbon in front of a large gathering of pupils and parents.

She also unveiled a plaque marking the occasion alongside LVS head of senior school, Christine Cunniffe, and head of junior school, Nick Funnell.

And to round off an unforgettable day for the youngsters, they also got to train on the new pitch alongside their hockey idol.

Thomas said: “Regularly playing a team sport like hockey helps you integrate with other children, teaches communication and leadership skills and can boost confidence and self-esteem.

“I started playing hockey at school but wasn’t lucky enough to have access to a fantastic astroturf pitch like this.

“Having played professionally in Holland for nine years where this is the norm, facilities like these are one thing that is missing over here.

“To have one at this school is amazing and will really improve the LVS Ascot students’ skills.” LVS Ascot hockey team captains Holly Gardiner and Jessica Welham, both Year 10, were two of the school’s lucky hockey players who can now boast to have been coached by an Olympic medallist.

Jessica said: “It was very inspirational to be coached by a Team GB Olympian, and playing on this fast surface will really help improve our techniques and reaction times.” LVS director of sport, John Percy, added: “This is going to improve sport here so much, and it also enables us to start up boys’ hockey at the school too.

“Sport is crucial as it gives students an outlet outside of the classroom and teaches them important life skills such as working as a team and playing for each other.

“Not many schools in the local area can provide students with use of a facility like this, and with our indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and climbing wall we can offer students the chance to excel at virtually any sport they choose.”