Bromsgrove’s Walking Hockey Celebrate Second Birthday With John Inverdale

Bromsgrove Walking Hockey Anniversary
Monday 28 January was a special day for Bromsgrove’s Walking Hockey section as they celebrated their second birthday with an appearance from BBC broadcaster John Inverdale.

Bromsgrove 2nd Anniversary - Jan 2019 - 06 - John
BBC broadcaster John Inverdale in Bromsgrove Bobble Hat .

Walking Hockey began in Bromsgrove in January 2017 with a six-week pilot programme. That quickly took off though and caught the hearts of England Hockey after the programme was entered into the England Hockey Awards and won the prestigious ‘Innovation Award’. 
 
Bromsgrove Waling Hockey EH Awards
Bromsgrove Walking Hockey – England Hockey Awards 2017 – Innovation Award

There are now 43 clubs taking part in Walking Hockey across England and there is also interest from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the USA, who are sending representatives to watch the sport being played with the intention of introducing it into their hockey programmes. 

Walking Hockey has already spread around the world too, with people playing in Australia, New Zealand and Dubai. Pilot Walking Hockey sessions are taking place in France, with ongoing discussions with the Dutch Hockey Association to introduce it in the Netherlands, while there is also interest from hockey representatives in Uruguay.

Alan Gormley who runs the Bromsgrove sessions, told The Bromsgrove Standard: “I can’t believe what started with ten people in Bromsgrove has gone worldwide.

 “The success is all down to the people of the Bromsgrove and the surrounding areas who have supported it and turned up to play on a regular basis. 

“Bromsgrove has 50 players signed up for the sport, including people from Worcester, Redditch and even one from Hampton-in-Arden who come each week to play. Some weeks we have 12 people, other times over 30 – people just love dropping in when they can to play.” 

Bromsgrove Walking Hockey - Playing
Anniversary game at Bromsgrove Walking Hockey.

England Hockey have a number of participation programmes in place to make sure ‘Hockey is for everyone’ regardless of age, gender, sex, size and ability.

Alan also told The Bromsgrove Standard: “It is a great all-inclusive sport – it is suitable for any age and any physical ability.” “We have everyone from teenagers to people who are 60 to 70 years old.”

John Inverdale was blown away with Walking Hockey. He joined in with the weekly session alongside the regulars, of which six players hadn’t played hockey for more than 30 years.

He said: “It keeps your body active but it is also good for your mind as well as you are thinking about aspects of the game, such as where to go and who to pass to. People who face medical conditions and problems on a daily basis forget about them while they are on the pitch.

"It’s also a good way to combat loneliness and isolation because there’s a very sociable aspect to the sport. I’ve met people tonight who look forward to it every week.” “There are so many benefits to the sport.”

Bromsgrove have worked hard over the years to provide a space where activities can give people a safe environment to go and socialise whilst keeping active. In 2016 after a 12-month building programme, the unveiling of the brand new, full-size, floodlit, sand-dressed AstroTurf was a great success.

Prior to that, Bromsgrove spent four years on their ‘Astro for All’ campaign to raise the funds for the new pitch. The pitch meant Bromsgrove, which previously had to play its home matches in Redditch, was able to return home. 

Bromsgrove have shown fantastic innovation, passion and enthusiasm. They spent years fundraising, inventing and creating a space that houses Walking Hockey, five men’s teams and six women’s and more than 200 juniors, of which, the under 12’s, 14s and 16s are all in national competitions.

Alan closed the interview: “It just shows if the facilities are there, people will come and play.”

More information on Walking Hockey can be found here.


Contact Alan Gormley - alan@sport-edge.co.uk