Fred Olsen have announced that the first ever walking football match at sea will take place on board Black Watch on the 31st October.
The match will take place whilst the ship is berthed in Harwich and will see around 10-12 players compete in a 10-15 minute match on Black Watch’s top deck, Sun Deck, deck 10.
The event is being held in conjunction with the Suffolk Football Association and participants will enjoy also a tour of ship from cruise director, Simon Vickers before enjoying a VIP reception in the Observatory Lounge. There will be a chance to discuss the possibility of implementing walking football into the on board activities program.
Fred Olsen have taken a keen interest in walking football and has been the lead sponsors of Walking Football and also sponsoring the first ever Walking Football Tournament in Suffolk in May 2016.
It’s popularity in Suffolk has grown and is now played over 13 different venues within the county. Normally played by men and women over the age of 50, the game is designed for those who want to participate in a low impact sport and can help people maintain an active lifestyle regardless of age and allow those to participate that had to stop playing the sport through injury.
Keith Norman, Buisness Management Director at Fred Olsen was delighted at prospect of the first ever Walking Football match at sea taking place on board a Fred Olsen ship. He said:
“Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is excited to be taking Walking Football ‘to sea’ for the very first time! This fun event is a great opportunity for us to bring this unique and popular sport to our cruise guests through Black Watch’s Cruise Director and Entertainments Team, who will watch and lend their support on the day, and will also give us the chance to showcase the benefits of Walking Football and our successful partnership with the Suffolk FA.
“There is a natural link between our customer base and the Walking Football community; plus, as a fellow Suffolk organisation, we value the importance of being involved with such an important local resource for the county.”
Suffolk FA Marketing & Communications Officer, Nick Garnham said:
“Walking Football continues to grow at a fast pace both in Suffolk and across the country, and we have been looking forward to this day ever since Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines first floated the idea.
“We are excited about the prospect of showcasing the sport at sea as it is potentially something that will appeal to their cruise guests, and the more people we can get playing the game, the better.”
The Suffolk FA is a not-for-profit organisation that is committed to ‘developing, growing and supporting’ players, volunteers, clubs and schools across the county in enjoying ‘the beautiful game’.
The participants in the Walking Football at Sea match will be regular players who currently play for ActivIpswich, whom are part of a new physical actvity initiative that aims to work with people aged 45 and over. This is partnered between ActiveLives and Ipswich Borough Council with funding from both Sport England and the National Lottery.
Once the match is over, Black Watch will proceed to depart in the afternoon of the 31st October on an 11 night cruise to Spain, Morocco and Portugal.