Walking footballers’ winning mentality
Since we followed Tony Dawes and his walking football team in one of our issues of In Touch, the team has had a lot of interest and added several new players looking to improve their health, get involved with the community and make new friends. AT’s Warriors (affectionately named after Alan Taylor, who started the team but sadly passed away last year) met every Friday throughout the summer for matches at GOALS soccer centre in Plymouth.
AT’s Warriors is not your regular walking football team, though, as it is open to people with disabilities, recovering from long-term illness or who may have some mental health issues. Tony invited PCH to take on his Warriors in a friendly match to promote health and wellbeing for residents and staff. PCH managed a brilliant coup in signing up John Clark, chief executive, for the game, alongside Leigh Ferguson and Hazel Alexander, of the communities team, and Jay Vickers, from communications.
On a sunny Friday morning, the teams got together and after the coin-toss gave PCH kick-off, before things got under way. The teams managed to play three 20-minute friendlies with a well-deserved rest in between. AT’s Warriors won the first game, after catching PCH napping, but PCH fought back with two wins in the final two games. There is a chance for the Warriors to get their revenge, though, as the teams may well meet again – so watch this space!
Leigh Ferguson, communities worker, said: “We have supported the walking footballers from the very beginning and it is great to see they have now established themselves as their own group. It’s clear to see how much their members enjoy taking part and I’m sure it is contributing hugely in terms of both the health benefits and being able to socialise with people who share a love of football.”
John Clark added: “What a great combination of good fun, good exercise and good conversation, not to mention that we won!”