WALKING Netball has begun to flourish across Berkshire after a growing demand for walking sports, writes Rob Stevens.

People never forget how to play netball and the memories, as well as the love for the game, never leave.

Walking Netball is a slower version of the sport and been designed so that anyone can play regardless of age or fitness level.

It can give those who feel isolated an outlet, provide an activity for those who do not deem themselves fit enough to run anymore, and offer a stepping stone for those looking for a pathway back into netball.

Gina McGregor MBE has been involved in the sport for over 70 years and runs Walking Netball sessions at Furze Platt School in Maidenhead on a Monday evening from 6.30-7.30pm.

She told the Observer: “England Netball is pushing the idea of Walking Netball so I set up the sessions in Maidenhead and they’ve been going since September.

“I started with just four or five people but now the numbers are really growing. Predominately older people come to play but younger ones come to help out and sometimes participate.

“The sessions are for anyone that isn’t playing netball or can’t run anymore, and you can take an extra step or two. The idea being that if players aren’t so balanced it gives them a little bit of extra help.

“England Netball is definitely trying to push Walking Netball and the extra step makes it a lot easier. We had five new people recently and they came back because they love it.

“The idea of Walking Netball has really grown and all the local leagues are now putting on sessions. It’s also grown around the country because people love the sport but can’t play a proper game.”

McGregor also runs Back 2 Netball sessions at Furze Platt School in Maidenhead from 7.30-8.30pm on a Monday evening.

The sessions, priced at £4 per person, are for people that have not played the sport for a long time but are further forward mobility-wise, and can also a route into the Maidenhead District Netball League.

McGregor: "I will ask some of our current members if they want to be a part of the Maidenhead league and play as a team in the summer.

"We've already set up the Rubies team, plus a side of 14-year-olds from Magnet Netball Club, so it's a continuation into the sport for them.

"The sessions are designed to keep people going if they're interested in netball, but if you want a more competitive game we will send you down to the courts."

She added: "If you're a complete novice then you can come and learn to play. I put people into different positions in the court each week and show them how to play.

"The sessions are also for people that have had children, injury or not played before to get into the sport, so it's perfect for all.

"The aim is to get people back into the sport and enjoying it."