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Local residents get active at the Festival of Football

Walking football tournament
Local residents get active at the Festival of Football
15 June 2017

Over 50 residents from across east London donned their free football kits and took to the field as part of a walking football tournament at Lovefootball’s Festival of Football at Hackney Marshes.

NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), working in partnership with Lovefootball and CCGs in City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, held a walking football tournament for the over 40s at the festival on Sunday 4 June 2017.

Six teams took part in a round robin tournament. The teams were made up of men and women from a range of age groups, from players in their 40s to those in their 70s.

Gary Mabbutt, former Tottenham Hotspur captain and England player, led the teams in a warm up session before refereeing the tournament.

All players were personally presented with a medal by Gary and the winning team, which included players from East Ham Active and the West Ham Foundation Walking Football team, were awarded the Cup. 

The opportunity to meet Gary was a highlight for many people, including Gavin, who said of the day:

“I really enjoyed it. It was nice meeting other people and meeting Gary Mabbutt, ex-Spurs and England player! It was run really well, there was a great camaraderie and atmosphere. Hopefully next year will be even better – everyone wants to come back next year!”

As well as being a fun day out, the tournament was also a great opportunity to try something new, get active and meet new people.

Talking at the event, Nishi Landa said:

“I love football, I’ve got a real passion for it. I didn’t mind getting up early for this, I was excited! I want to join a walking football group so this tournament gave me a chance to get a feel for the game. Football is my hobby. I enjoy it and it gets me healthy. I’m really happy I’m doing this today and meeting new people. I was born here at Homerton Hospital, so I’m coming home to play!”

Dr Prakash Chandra, a local GP and chair of Newham CCG, added:

“Being more physically active is one of the best things that people can do to improve their health. The walking football tournament was a fun way for local people to try something new and get moving. Everyone took part with great enthusiasm and had a great day out. This tournament is just one of the many ways that Newham CCG is working to connect people with the NHS through the power of sport and to help local people to stay active and healthy.”

Lovefootball organises events that celebrate football and aims to encapsulate the diversity and community spirit of major UK cities today, bringing cultures together in a competitive and engaging environment.

The tournament was part of a weekend long Festival of Football which featured a variety of tournaments and football activities to appeal to fans of all ages and abilities, including the Inner City World Cup, a replica World Cup with 32 teams made up from multicultural inner-city communities.

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