Club ambassador and former manager Alan Mullery was in Littlehampton this week to help launch a new initiative aimed at encouraging older people to stay physically active.
Mullery relived his playing days by taking part in a special ‘walking football’ event run by Albion in the Community (AITC) and Arun District Council as part of the Young at Heart initiative – a partnership between the charity and the council’s wellbeing team which gives the over 65s the chance to improve their health by taking part in regular exercise.
The 72 year-old took part in the specially arranged session with the Mayor of Littlehampton, Councillor Jill Long, along with representatives from the council, Sussex FA and local over 65s.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “It was my first experience of walking football and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see so many people down here taking part and fantastic to see the Mayor joining in. This is something that men and women can take part in.”
He added, “It is really important to have activities and programmes like this for older people. The physical and health benefits are obvious but I think the social side can be equally important when you are that age.”
The walking football sessions are part of a number of free or low cost activities offered by the Young at Heart programme for older Arun residents.
Walking football is a slower paced, non-contact version of the traditional game designed for older people who still want to play the sport and keep active. Games are played on small-sized pitches and players are not allowed to run or jog while the ball is in play.
AITC coach Jason Hughes, who ran the session, said, “Alan is an idol to lots of the guys who took part in the session today, so to have him here was tremendous.
“We want to grow the initiative and get more local over 65’s involved. The idea is to get regular sessions going and have teams playing against each other.”
The next AITC walking football sessions start in early September and take place in Littlehampton and Angmering. For more information on the sessions and the Young at Heart programme e-mail Nicky.Buckthorpe@albioninthecommunity.org.uk
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