Keeping fit in later life and learning new sporting skills come together in Walking Netball, a sport that like many other walking sports is enjoying a growth in popularity.
The Trailblazers Ladies Walking Netball Club, based at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre in Weston-super-Mare, has received a donation from the Thatchers Foundation in support of the valuable work it does in helping women in their fifties and over rediscover sport and the health and social benefits that brings.
Many members of the club have played netball in earlier years, but now have taken up the sport again for varying reasons, from age related and health issues, recovery from surgery and of course, as a social activity.
Kelli Coxhead, Trustee of The Thatchers Foundation, went along to a Walking Netball session to present the club with a cheque for £800 which will help in ongoing costs, including the purchase of new sweatshirts and mesh bibs for the players.
“This is a really inspirational group, and The Thatchers Foundation is delighted to support them with the purchase of new kit,” says Kelli. “It was a real pleasure to meet the ladies of the netball team, they were so welcoming. It was great to see a group of women full of energy, enthusiasm camaraderie for the sport. Last time I put a bib on was at primary school and it bought back lots of happy memories of playing the sport. I hope when I reach 50 plus that I too will have their energy!”
Angela Bass, organiser of the Trailblazers Ladies Walking Netball says,
“The girls and I are thrilled with the donation from the Thatchers Foundation which makes such a difference to us, especially when we go to netball festivals.
“Our Walking Netball came about because a number of ladies in our 50+ Sports Club at Hutton Moor were unable to manage the full game of netball, so we decided to change our game to walking and since then our club has flourished.
“When England Netball took the game on, it started to be well publicised in the media and Trailblazers Walking Netball Club has grown from 8 to around 30 regular players. These are a fantastic group of ladies who are all in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and although many have health issues, support and help each other.
Angela continues, “I love the game and am so proud of my group and to see the joy on the faces of those who thought their netball days were over. Being able to adapt the game so that everyone can join in has been interesting and it never ceases to make me smile to hear the laughter and see the friendships that have been made. It makes all the hard work worth while.
“We really appreciate the donation by The Thatchers Foundation which has enabled us to purchase much needed new kit for our members, enabling us to foster team spirit and a sense of pride at our training sessions and at competitive matches.”
There’s growing enthusiasm for walking sport and in particular netball, as it can be played by people of any age and of any fitness level. It has all the enjoyment of regular netball, just played at a slower pace. Members who played netball at school, or even in their twenties with a club, have never forgotten the fun they had and have embraced the opportunities the group brings.
The club, which is recognised by England Netball, has been running for two and a half years. The weekly sessions regularly attract 25-30 players from the Weston super Mare, Locking and Winscombe areas.
The Thatchers Foundation helps and supports community and charitable activities, in the areas of Health, Social or Economic Disadvantage, Education, Environment. Since the Foundation firmly believe in supporting its local community, applications relating to projects and individuals in Sandford, Winscombe and adjoining towns and villages are favoured.