Earlier this month, the Chelmsford City Walking Football Club linked up with Active Essex for a promotional launch.
As part of the launch, a walking football session was delivered amongst other activities, with ITV regional news providing coverage.
The Walking Football Club Chairman, Chris Jullings, explained: “The main purpose of Active Essex is to promote a whole range of activities from strenuous exercise through to gardening.”
The organisation which runs across Essex is one of 43 Active Partnerships in England which work collaboratively with local partners to ensure the power of physical activity and sport can transform lives.
Alongside the Active Essex team and the ITV news cameras, former West Ham United defender Anton Ferdinand was also in attendance at the session.
Jullings said: “A lot of the lads are West Ham supporters, so obviously they have been on the terraces and watched Anton play when he played for West Ham, so it’s always nice.
“I think for the guys to meet those folks in the flesh rather than stood on the terrace it was great. There was a lot of banter.
“Anton was great on the day; he was doing his ambassadorial job, but I think he thoroughly enjoyed kicking a ball around with the guys.”
Also featuring on the day was Lance Gooch, who is a former Clarets first-team player and the Walking Football Club’s oldest member.
Speaking on the 78-year-old player, Jullings commented: “The nice thing about it was that it’s an opportunity to inspire people to get up off the sofa because we’ve got someone still playing at nearly 79.
“The nice little touch is that Lance Gooch played for Chelmsford City in the ‘70s, he played for the main club as a centre-half.
“It was a nice thread of the relationship between the Club, between staying active, supporting Active Essex and promoting walking football for the day.”
The coverage on the ITV regional news was one of several recent plugs for the Walking Football Club, with it having recently been covered on Chelmer Radio, Chelmsford Community Radio and in the Essex Chronicle.
“You can feel we’re on the march and growing membership,” the Walking Football Club Chairman said.
“We’ve got recreational football, where we’re attracting people off the sofa who might have never played football before, which is great.
“We’re also starting to attract some of those players that want to play more competitively and are starting to see Chelmsford as a good place to come to.
“We’re stepping forward on all fronts.”
In addition to having the England Walking Football Captain, Spencer Pratten, in the ranks, another player from the Clarets has stepped up to the international stage.
Following a successful trial, Colin Haydon has been selected to play for the Three Lions’ Over-65s team.
Jullings commented: “We now have two England players, which I think is a testament to the Club growing its reputation.
“There are other people who are nominated for trails, whether that becomes anything remains to be seen but it illustrates that we are, in practical terms, trying and succeeding to balance that relationship between having an open door to the community and essentially inviting anyone and everyone that wants to come and play football, with a competitive edge as well for those that want to play more seriously.
“I think we can illustrate that by having 75 members, very wide age range, a very wide range of ability, fitness level, health level and having a couple of England players and continuing to push to have more.
“It’s an interesting trick to pull off but I think we’re succeeding.”
For further information on getting involved with the Walking Football Club, contact Chris on 07850725691 or visit their website.