New table tennis club provides boost to OAPs in Bishop's Waltham

Daily Echo: John Tunnicliffe, John Hunt, John Moorhouse and Peter Jenkins try table tennis at Bishop's Waltham John Tunnicliffe, John Hunt, John Moorhouse and Peter Jenkins try table tennis at Bishop's Waltham

PENSIONERS in Bishop's Waltham are proving they’re still game by flocking to a table tennis club.

Laurie Rickwood, a village agent for Age Concern Hampshire, set the ball rolling for the town’s new over-55’s club.

He was inspired after seeing a documentary that followed a group of Chinese octogenarians as they prepared for the World Table Tennis championships in 2012.

He told the Daily Echo: “We have been promoting ping-pong for older people in the community and I went around the lunch clubs and had a stall at a recent community day.

“I was approached by a number of people who were interested in playing. There are numerous health benefits for older people.”

Mr Rickwood hopes the club will reduce social isolation and loneliness, and the initiative is part of the Better Balance for Life Falls Prevention project.

Ping-pong enthusiasts say the game can improve balance, which builds confidence and in turn reduces falls.

Alzheimer’s groups have lauded the game for improving sleep patterns, increasing cerebral blood flow, and promoting better coordination and upper body strength.

The club boasts an average attendance of eight and has been meeting every Wednesday from 2pm until 5pm but is now on the look-out for a permanent home, having secured the backing of Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council, which agreed to provide access to the town’s Scout hut until the end of March.

Anyone interested in joining should email bishopswalthamva@ageconcernhampshire.org.uk.

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