MP promoting exercise as he tries touch rugby with Third Age - The Evesham Observer

MP promoting exercise as he tries touch rugby with Third Age

Evesham Editorial 15th Oct, 2022   0

EVESHAM’S MP and former Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had a taste of Pershore Rugby’s unique ‘Third Age Touch’ when he teamed up with Coun Richard Grantham, deputy mayor of Pershore and England Touch Association executives including CEO Chris Simon.

The trio were among those to tackle a friendly, non-contact touch match with Pershore 3AT players, the eldest of whom was 82.

It was all to spread the word retired folk, women as well as men, and those with limited fitness can enjoy many benefits of playing the adapted, running (not walking) version of Touch which Pershore Rugby has developed.

“Sport is very good for physical and mental health,” he said. “And I am all in favour of Touch for all the fun and camaraderie that it provides. I am a sports fan and nut and it is great to see this version of Touch for retired people taking hold in Worcestershire, where rugby is very popular.

“I can see it has tremendous potential to spread across the rest of the UK,” Mr Huddleston added.

Chris Simon, ETA CEO said: “The work the team here at Pershore have done is tremendous and the ETA is delighted to be involved, supporting the Third Age Touch idea, and we look forward to doing that with DCMS’ help and any other interested parties.

“We’re working to expand it to other rugby and non-rugby clubs, so that, through Touch, as at Pershore, former rugby players can keep playing much longer and new players, who have never picked up an oval ball before, can do so for the first time. And, importantly, they can all play together, regardless of age, gender, or ability.”

Bill Hurley, 82, chair of Pershore Rugby and a 3AT player said: “Many retired folk don’t realise that all the benefits of running and playing a team sport are still open to them. “Even if they have significant physical challenges, the version of Touch that we’ve developed means they can run at their own pace, pass a ball and have a lot of fun with others out in the fresh air. The social benefits of 3AT are tremendous too, helping combat loneliness and social isolation.

Already, since 3AT started at Pershore Rugby last September, 18 men and women now enjoy training and playing together at the club’s Piddle Park grounds every Wednesday at 11am for an hour.

David James, 78, who is the founder of 3AT at Pershore said: “Anyone, whether new or experienced, is welcome to come along. Whatever your age, Pershore’s the place now to play non-contact Touch.

“There is a tremendous atmosphere amongst the players – we all enjoy a run-around together and have a coffee in the clubhouse afterwards. The first three tasters are free, after which it is £3 a month.”

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