A SPORTY couple have kicked off their own walking football group after struggling to find anywhere nearby which offers a slower version of the beautiful game.
Andy Hart and Rachael Perks started the walking football group after discovering the nearest team was in Birmingham.
Forty-six-year-old former youth football coach Andy had suffered a stroke and heart attack and wanted gentle sport to aid his recovery.
His partner Rachael also wanted to help as she was suffering with back problems – something she is currently awaiting surgery for.
Rachael, who was in the army until her troubles started, says she is hoping even more people will join their team, which already has 50 members.
The 44-year-old told the Observer: “We started a walking football group in Stratford as we felt there was a need for it and there wasn’t a group in the area. We knew the health benefits and just decided to go for it.
“It helps particularly with rehabilitation of heart attack and stroke victims and helps towards better mental health and well-being, as well as getting people fitter in a friendly, social environment.”
Now the duo, who have four sport-loving children between them, are calling for men and women over the age of 40 to join their team training every Tuesday between 7pm and 8pm at Stratford High School.
Rachael said: “We have about 50 members on our books now and have 30 regularly turning up each week, but we really want to help more people with rehab and self-confidence.
“The group has grown nicely but we have the capacity to help many more.”
Sessions cost £4 each. Search ‘Stratford Upon Avon Walking Football’ on Facebook or call 07989 356514 to speak to Andy.