At the end of last year Lisburn Ages Walking Football group held their inaugural walking football tournament, which proved to be a great success.
Walking football is aimed at keeping people aged over 50 involved with football if, due to a lack of mobility or for other reasons, they are not able to play the traditional game.
Sammy Leathem, Chairman for the group explained: “We formed a couple of years ago with the purpose of getting older men back outside, exercising and enjoying a sport we all once enjoyed playing. To be able to compete, even in friendly terms has actually identified benefits that we didn’t expect.”
Lisburn Ages weekly games have proven to be such a success and widely supported that they decided that they would use the platform of a tournament to support two very worthy charities. It was agreed unanimously by the committee that Action Mental Health and Macmillan Cancer would be the beneficiaries of any funds raised.
Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler who as UUP party spokesperson on Mental Health enthusiastically supported the group to engage as many groups, agencies and individuals as possible to promote their positive message. “From my first interaction with the guys at Lisburn Ages I was delighted with their energy and enthusiasm and also their recognition of the wider benefits of meeting regularly and playing a bit of football,” said Mr Butler. “I had no hesitation in sponsoring the trophy for the winning team.”
Ivan Kilpatrick, one of the organisers, added: “The day proved to be an incredible success. We raised over £2000 through team entry fees, a ballot and an auction. There are so many people who need to be thanked and I couldn’t possibly mention them all but to Lisburn Council for sponsoring the runner up and best player trophies and Lisburn Rangers for the free use of their fabulous facilities we are extremely grateful, to all those behind the scenes people who work tirelessly and to all who contributed on the day, we say many heart felt thanks.”