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Pershore leading the way with Third Age Touch

Pershore Touch is showing that Touch Rugby is a sport for all ages with a thriving Third Age Touch programme which is growing all the time.

Third Age Touch (3AT) is keeping the retired community of the Midlands town active with slightly adapted rules, training sessions and fun games, all followed by plenty of social opportunities to introduce players to new friends, too!

Pershore’s 3AT programme started in September 2021 and now attracts 18 men and women who are retired or have limited fitness to its weekly sessions.

“We have proved at Pershore that there is a massive demand from retired folk for non-contact team sports, like Touch if they are tailored for them,” said David James (age 78), founder of 3AT at Pershore. “3AT Touch allows them to keep active and enjoy exercise out in the fresh air and, of course benefit from all the social aspects too.”

Richard George, 67, Pershore Rugby’s chairman, has joined in the sessions too and added: “There is a tremendous atmosphere amongst the players – some really good banter. 

“And this initiative for older players to enjoy a run-around together and have a coffee in the clubhouse afterwards is all part of our aim at Pershore Rugby to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible.”

England Touch’s National Development Officer, Sammie Phillips, and Chief Executive, Chris Simon, recently visited the club to find out more, and both believe that 3AT is an initiative which clubs across the country can use to attract new players and volunteers into the sport.

“3AT is a brilliant initiative and it was really enjoyable to spend some time at Pershore,” Phillips said. “Touch Rugby is one of the sports which can keep bodies active in a low-impact way, and the health benefits are really wide ranging. Equally important is the social aspect which comes from team sport, and it’s fantastic to see that Pershore have made sure that this is part of their programme as well.

“We definitely believe that this is a model which other clubs can follow, especially those which are based at community rugby league or rugby union clubs, which have pitches and clubhouses which are often not being used in the middle of the day.

“And as well as new players, it could be a way to bring new volunteers into Touch Rugby as well.”

“We are delighted that the ETA is providing our new 3AT section with such a lot of support,” James commented. “They have helped us adapt the Federation of International Touch rules slightly because we have such a wide range of differing ability players, some who can, and do, run and others who can only walk. Now we have standardised the rules, we are looking to support 3AT to other clubs. Hopefully Pershore 3AT will soon have some other clubs to play matches against, and more players than before will get to enjoy this great sport.”

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Some space. A ball. Your mates. A game
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