AN England cricketer has returned to her former college to inspire the next generation of sports hopefuls.

Danni Hazell was guest speaker at New College Durham’s Sports Celebration of Learning event, which recognises students’ academic and sporting achievements.

The cricketer, from Ushaw Moor, is a former sport student at New College Durham and studied on the Level 3 Sports and Exercise Diploma before turning professional.

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Danni said: “I started playing cricket when I was 12-years-old and it was always just a hobby. I had no idea that it would later become my full-time career.

“The sports course at New College Durham gave me a good foundation in sport and taught me about important aspects such as nutrition.”

She congratulated the students on their success and inspired them to fulfil their potential, saying: “If you are passionate about sport, get involved and work hard, it’s amazing where it can take you.”

Danni played county age-group cricket for Durham and was a member of the Durham academy, but now plays her women's county cricket for Yorkshire.

After impressing in the England Women's Academy, she broke into the senior squad for the 2009 World Twenty20. She continues to feature in the senior squad with recent victorious tours of South Africa and New Zealand.

Curriculum leader for Sport, Steve Bell, said: “We are very proud of all of our former students’ successes, and it was a great honour to welcome back Danni to the college today to help inspire the next generation of New College Durham sports students."