Vannin Strollers have become the Isle of Man’s first walking football club – now they are looking for opponents to play against at a walking football festival on September 26th, from 12 to 4pm at the Bowl

The club’s eighteen or so active members – most are in their sixties and seventies - currently play against each other on Mondays and Thursdays at the NSC in Douglas.

The idea behind the formation of Vannin Strollers and the aim of the walking football festival is to increase participation in the sport on the Isle of Man.

From its roots in Chesterfield eight years ago, walking football is now widely played in the UK and around the world by men and women over 50. There are even international tournaments – and the Wales team recently visited the island to field two sides against Isle of Man A and B teams picked from the squad that has become Vannin Strollers.

The NHS recommends walking football as an excellent way of boosting both physical and mental health.

Strollers player Mike Sharpe, 71, from Port Erin, said: “I took up walking football three years ago, having not played competitively since 1969. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The enjoyment I get from it is the same as when I was playing football in my younger years.

“It’s a great way of keeping fit – much more enjoyable than going to the gym – and it’s an important social activity too. We get together once a month for a few pints and then work the calories off at walking football!”

The rules of walking football are similar to five or six-a-side, but physical contact is kept to a minimum to avoid injuries. At least one foot must always be on the ground, so running is banned.

The festival on Thursday, September 26th, will run from 12 to 4pm at The Bowl and is open to teams or individuals. For more information, please email or contact Mike Sharpe on 07624 496862.