Inspired by Team GBs hockey success #HockeyFest returns to Bedford

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HockeyFest returns to Bedfordshire this summer with Bedford Hockey Club opening their doors to new and current players across the county, all with the aim to celebrate the social and friendly aspect of playing hockey.

Running until September 11, the three week programme will be jam-packed with fun and informal events with a big community feel.

These will include a fundraising bake off, taster sessions for beginners to evening socials at the club house.

HockeyFest highlights the best aspects that the sport has to offer including an equal split between men and women playing and inclusive to all ages and abilities, with many clubs seeing a range of generations taking part it is a family affair.

As the nation tuned in to watch Team GB’s hockey heroines make history at the Rio Olympics by reaching their first ever Olympic final and following the England women’s team gold medal success at last year’s EuroHockey Championships, more people than ever want to give this exciting sport a go.

In 2015 an impressive 335 clubs started the season with a bang by taking part in HockeyFest and over a quarter saw a growth in membership numbers from the previous season.

Since 2011 the number of junior players has increased by 64% as more people have been inspired since London 2012 when Great Britain women’s hockey team took home a bronze medal.

Rich Beer, director of development at England Hockey, said: “After this summer’s magnificent sporting success, many people are keen to try a new sport and want to have fun while staying fit and active. HockeyFest gives families the ideal opportunity to visit their local hockey club and see what it has to offer all ages and abilities.

“Over the last four years, we’ve seen a very encouraging uplift in grassroots participation and building on this success, we’ll be getting the new season off to a flying start by welcoming even more people to the hockey community. Hailed by many clubs as a ‘social festival’ that brings together like-minded people, HockeyFest is a terrific way for new members, both old and young and from all different backgrounds, to get involved on their terms, be it playing, coaching or volunteering; there are so many opportunities on offer.”

Great Britain and England Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, said: “I got into hockey by playing rounders at school – apparently I was very dramatic diving for the ball and the teacher suggested I should go in goal in hockey.

“I hadn’t played it before then but once I had the pads on, I just learnt to love it.”

The HockeyFest campaign is organised by Great Britain Hockey, the sport’s official National Governing Body, in association with Notts Sport.

For more information visit: www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/PlayHockey