Our reporter Chris Vickers gives us an update on the Greater Manchester Walking Football League and some of the charities that local clubs are supporting.
First, congratulations to Kingsmaid over 60s who, in early March, were runners-up in the prestigious National Cup competition. Denton based Kingsmaid have garnered a reputation as being an extremely good, difficult side to play against, which was clearly borne out by this exciting cup run.
The achievement was all the more impressive in that they lost their goalkeeper for the final and striker, Stuart Sutton, took over goal stopping duties. This demonstrates the mental strength of the players who dug deep into their reserves of determination and resilience and ended up losing only in a penalty shoot-out. Well done.
In March the Greater Manchester Walking Football League resumed at Heywood for the spring season, and is thriving with more sides entering than ever. So much so that in addition to the traditional Thursday morning kick-offs, Wednesday’s have been added to accommodate all the booming fixture requirements.
It’s nice to report that one of the categories flourishing is the over 70s, with a new division formed to cater for the demand. The games at Heywood are always competitive, but played in a sporting manner, and are well refereed, with an eye on toning down physical contact to prevent injuries.
The resumption of the league coincided with the Ukrainian crisis and the league’s committee deemed it appropriate that all the match fees collected, together with individual club donations, were sent to charities supporting Ukraine. The total amount received was £2416.
The Greater Manchester walking Football League runs in seasons, Spring and Autumn, with each season consisting of four monthly fixture dates. All fixtures dates Take place on the new 3G facility at Heywood Sports Village.
Meanwhile, Salford Community Walking Football club have this year decided to support the local charity Loaves and Fishes. All practise fees received from players over the year, together with monies raised via two fund raising in-house Tournaments will be held in spring and autumn.
The first of these competitions was on April 2 and all the player’s involved paid £5 match fee, and teams of five from Teams A to E played each other twice. Team E ran out worthy winners. After the games the committee put on a buffet, followed by a raffle to raise extra funds.
The chair of Loaves and Fishes, based at Salford Precinct, Paul Ashton, explained how the charity helps homeless people, including refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the vulnerable and exploited; provides a drop-in centre for breakfast and lunch, a food bank and offers medical advice; the charity also helps with life skills for jobs, ESOL and well-being; other activities include yoga, art, cooking and gardening both at Salford Precinct but also at RHS Worsley.
Paul ended by advising how people could volunteer their skills to help the cause e.g. collecting food from supermarkets, helping in the kitchen or gardens, fundraising, sponsored runs or bike rides or in helping with building repairs, maintenance or decoration.
Learn more about GM Walking Football and how to get involved here.