24-hour hockey marathon scores £3,000 goal

Date: Wednesday 18th July 2018

MORE than 300 people took part in a 24-hour hockey festival which was blessed by glorious sunshine.

Hosted by Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club, the event was held to raise funds for a replacement all-weather synthetic pitch for the town and surrounding communities.

Located at the town’s grammar school, the 20-year-old pitch, which is already five years past its projected lifespan, belongs to Kirkby Stephen Community Sports Association.

The festival was hailed a great success, with players of all ages and abilities joining in over the course of the day. It resulted in more than £3,000 being raised.

Kicking things off in the morning were the junior tournaments in which more than 100 children took part.

They were followed by the family fun matches which pitched grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles and long lost cousins into the mix — with many dusting off well worn sticks to join the children.

To carry the festival on through the night, more than 80 players then took to the pitch to play hockey of all standards in a friendly, fantastic effort from all involved.

In addition to the tournaments, One Sports Warehouse attended, allowing players to buy new kit and sample new sticks.

With fun stalls, face-painting, a raffle, home-made cakes and refreshments, music, barbecue and a bar there was plenty to keep everyone entertained from morning to night.

Players could even have a half-price sports massage courtesy of Anthea Bowman, of AB Sports Therapy, who kindly donated every penny made to the event.

A spokesman for the club said: “It was a pleasure to see so many members of Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club having fun and playing alongside other Cumbrian clubs, ex-players, friends and family, plus the wider community.

“The club would like to offer sincere thanks to everyone who helped out at the event with the planning, organisation, setting up and cleaning up. Thank you goes out to everyone who helped out with organising the children during day at the pitch and the evening hockey sessions too — and to all the volunteers who helped with the refreshments, stalls, car parking, barbecue, music and bar.

“The event wouldn’t have been the success it was without everyone who came to the pitch to play and to support. It was a great community sports event which will hopefully help to fund hockey in the town for future generations.”

Kirkby Stephen Hockey Club is set to continue to support the town’s community sports association in its fundraising efforts by arranging further events later in the year, including an exciting charity auction already planned for autumn.