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WALKING netballers at Fareham Leisure Centre have proved England Netball’s latest programme a huge success.

They are calling on more ladies to join them in the new year.

England Netball launched a walking netball pilot in the area during the summer and Everyone Active, who run Fareham Leisure Centre, took on the session from September.

The weekly session, held on Monday lunch times, has gone from strength to strength.

Fareham resident Suzanne Coker has been a regular participant since the start.

She said: ‘We always have a good time, we’re not supposed to take it too seriously but we can’t help laughing at ourselves anyway.

‘I always look forward to walking netball, I feel a lot better for it and I’ve made new friends.’

Walking netball host Kelly Wallis has led the session since it started and is pleased with the progress.

She said ‘We’ve got a real mixture of ladies coming to the sessions but in most cases the participants did not think they’d ever put on a bib and throw a ball again.

‘There are a few rule adaptions that make the game less stressful on the body.

‘Participants are allowed an extra step and there is no jumping.

‘It is a great leveller for the participants, it can be no less competitive, though, as the Fareham walking netball regulars will tell you.’

Walking Netball takes place at Fareham Leisure Centre on Mondays, from 12.30pm to 1.15pm, for £3 in the sports hall.

Sessions resume after the Christmas break on Monday.

There is no need to book, participants can just turn up.

Wallis added: ‘We have a core of 10 ladies who regularly attend but they are keen to bring new people in so we can have even more match play at sessions.’

England Netball’s south east Hampshire community coach, Debbie Laycock said: ‘We are hoping to plan a walking netball festival in Spring, bringing all the walking netball sessions from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight together.

‘We’re also in discussions with partners such as Age UK to bring new sessions to Portsmouth and Gosport.’

For more details about walking netball see the website englandnetball.co.uk/my-game/walking-netball or call Debbie Laycock on 07854 090473.

– HELEN DUNNING