FOOTBALL is great for exercise and fun, but for those that cannot keep up to the pace of the game, that is where walking football comes in.

Walking football does what it says on the tin, it is a variation of one of the nation’s favourite sports, that is at a slower pace.

Wayne Purser, 50, is a player on the Beacon Hill FC walking football team.

He said: “I first got involved after, like many, realised I was drinking and eating too much during lockdown.

“When I first heard about walking football I sort of sniggered, thinking it wasn’t a serious thing or that it wouldn’t be as good as it has been.

“I joined in 2019, but first got involved after lockdown in summer of 2020, and started playing more and more as things opened up.”

Walking football is a six-a-side, non-contact version of the sport, with players having to walk instead of run.

Referees and coaches are still involved, with Beacon Hill FC getting involved in competitive league competitions.

The Essex Walking Football League has 18 teams, with three matches played at Melbourne Park, Chelmsford, on one Saturday per month.

Training with Beacon Hill FC is held on Saturday mornings in Wickham Bishops.

The team have both an over 50s and over 60s team, with a variety of experience and ability amongst their players.

They are hoping to find some more players for the league, whilst introducing some to the game.

Wayne said: “We have some ex-players that still enjoy the game but can’t play at the pace they used to, and some that self-admittedly have never kicked a ball!

“But it is not just about the exercise, the social interactions are important too.”

Being a part of the team has taken Wayne cross-continent as well.

Beacon Hill FC went to Benidorm last year to play a team in Spain over one weekend.

Wayne said: “It was a great bonding experience and to go abroad was amazing, as was winning 12-0.

“We are hoping to do a similar trip to the south of France this year.”

Anyone looking to hear more or to get involved, can call Wayne Purser on 07880224321.