Bedford Hockey Club, who won our inaugural #watchyour1s campaign, have picked up another accolade after being awarded Club of the Year in the Bedford Borough Council’s Sports & Activity Awards 2022.
“The club is extremely proud of its achievements over the past year, as an entirety and with specific outstanding accomplishments by certain teams and individuals across the club,” read a statement.
The awards night also saw one of the club’s Men’s Veterans players, and club accountant, officially recognised as Unsung Hero of the Year for all the amazing work he does for the club.
There were further nominations, under Team of the Year, for the women’s Masters Over 55s, the women’s 5th team and the club’s umpiring Team.
The women’s club captain, and England O35s player, was up for Adult Personality of the Year, an award that was won by a former Bedford Hockey Club Junior who now plays Netball for England and whose father still coaches at the club and brother plays for the Men’s 2s.
The club’s recognition “reflects the fact that, despite the challenges of the past few years, the club is thriving, with an ever-increasing membership and offering a level of hockey participation for all.”
A further initiative by the club has a focus on taking hockey into local state schools.
The first primary school to benefit from this has seen 50 ten-year-olds participate in a weekly session on a full-sized astro pitch over a six-week period.
Walking Hockey, meanwhile, was nominated for Community Group of the year for its inclusivity.
The club now has a regular attendance in excess of 16 at a session and ages ranging up to nearing 80-years-old. Some use the Walking Hockey as a means of returning to mainstream play, either after illness or injury or having not played for many years, others having never picked up a hockey stick before.
One participant who returned to the sport after many years of absence, having had hip replacements at a young age, received her cap for Wales Over 60s this year.
Another, who had last played over 40 years ago and never imagined she would play again, has rekindled her love of playing and, despite nearing her 76th birthday, has started playing for the club’s women’s 7s.