On Friday 6 March, Sky Blues Macmillan Walking Footballers welcomed Worcestershire Royal Hospital Walking Footballers down to the Alan Higgs, Coventry, for a fun, friendly competitive game.
Walking Football is simply a slower-paced version of the beautiful game. It is designed to help people have an active lifestyle regardless of their age and ability, as well as getting people back playing football. It’s a great way to keep fit, learn skills, have fun and socialise all at the same time.
Sky Blues in the Community have been delivering Walking Football since December 2014. It has grown in popularity and continues to go from strength to strength, having a true impact on the lives of those who attend.
Sue, Volunteer Chaplin at Worcestershire Royal Hospital said: “I believe the walking football facility provides an absolutely superb opportunity for patients arriving as strangers to form sincere friendships and share their journeys together.
"This really helps with their physical and emotional wellbeing, highlighting that every human being is vulnerable, irrespective of age or status and really reaffirming that there are times when everyone needs someone simply to be there.”
Both teams enjoyed two lots of 7 a side games, showcasing their skills and re-living their love for the game. After Sky Blues took the lead, they decided to finish up with mixed teams. The Worcestershire goalkeeper said: “It’s been nearly 50 years to the day that I was playing in goal!”
After some fantastic play from both sides, show-stopping saves and left foot pings, they came together over lunch to share memories and socialise over what had a been a brilliant day for both Sky Blues and Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Dave Halfpenny, Skipper for Worcester Hospital Walking Footballers: “We got together in the changing rooms after the game and had a nice chat. We’ve all had a really great time, Sky Blues have made us all welcome, the facilities have been great and everyone is looking forward to the re-match in April.
"Our aim is to get something for everyone to be involved in, something to look forward to and an opportunity to talk. We’ve nearly all got the same concern, so if someone’s having treatment and feeling down, it’s nice to get together, be supportive and build them back up.”
Josh Hearne-Wilkins, Macmillan Cancer Nurse Specialist was in attendance and commented: “Another really successful day with the Sky Blues Walking Footballers welcoming Worcester Hospital Walking Footballers over to Coventry. I think the main message is guys living with and most importantly beyond cancer diagnosis. The pleasing thing with today is that all these men are here with two common elements - prostate cancer and the love of the game of football.
"I think this is precisely how support groups should be. We haven’t discussed cancer much today, but we know that everyone here in the room is united by cancer and it’s great to see the guys having a kick about and having a laugh with each other. This is how things should be moving forwards and as health care professionals we should be encouraging everyone to do things like this, giving people a focus.”
The man behind all the organising for this event was Ron Bannister, Sky Blues in the Community Volunteer and Macmillan Walking Footballer. Ron said:
“Today's Macmillan Walking Football was fantastic. To see over 20 men living with cancer, playing football, enjoying themselves, laughing, smiling and just taking their mind away from the battle they have for a few hours was great. The feedback I got today was all the reward I wanted.”
We all look forward to visiting Worcester for the re-match next month.
If you’re interested in our Macmillan Walking Football sessions or would like any further information, please contact us via: 02476 786 349 or firstname.lastname@example.org