Walking football sessions in Doncaster help long-lost friends reconnect and boost health
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Doncaster Dynamos, who play at Goals in Wheatley on Tuesday and Friday mornings, regularly attract around 20 players aged from 50 to 75 to their sessions.
Organiser David Hatfield – the team’s oldest player at 75 – reconnected with his long-lost friend Frank Beaumont, 73, who he hadn’t seen for 50 years when he began playing seven years ago.
David, from Sprotbrough, and Frank, from Norton, played together for Norton United in their teens before losing touch when David originally hung up his boots in 1971 aged 22 after marrying his wife of 52 years, Sandra.
Retired former power station operator David said: “Age is just a figure.
"We just keep on plodding on. The younger players run rings around us but we can still play a bit.”
David now manages the club alongside Frank, who worked as a mechanical fitter in his younger years.
He said: “It’s giving people something to do when they have finished work and it’s a good social thing.
"We all have a good laugh and a chat and a bit of banter. It gets people out and gives them something to get up for on Tuesdays and Fridays.”
Playing football also helps the attendees keep fit, said David.
He added: “You sit at home reading the paper all day, you don’t get out and about and you just stagnate.
"We think it’s good for long term health apart from everything else, mentally and physically.”
The team is always on the lookout for new players and has enjoyed recent success, which has seen them invited to take part in a league featuring sides from across northern England.
They are now on the hunt for sponsorship.
David said: “We went to our first session and the other teams turned up in club jackets looking as smart as can be and had a proper kit with shorts, shirts and socks matching.
"The only income we have got is what our members contribute from our session fees (£3 per person). We have to pay pitch-hire costs, which are expensive, so the money takes a while to build up.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring the Doncaster Dynamos or coming to a session should email David at [email protected].