Women’s participation in sport
Last weekend Maidstone’s Hazlitt theatre presented a dance spectacular featuring performers from the Melody Marshall School of Dance www.melodymarshalldance.co.uk.
Established in 1982 in Barming, Melody Marshall now has around two hundred pupils of all ages; from the very young, to the gracefully senior. The school openly promotes dance as a fun way to keep fit and it clearly does the trick judging from the excellent stage performances Simon and I witnessed.
Lovely to meet some of you backstage and congratulations Melody and team on a great show.
Onward to Maidstone Hockey Club www.maidstonehockey.org in Armstrong Road. I’d been invited to do ‘The Big Switch On’; the official launch of the Club’s fab new lighting system. Upgrading to something in excess of 500 Lux (the level of lighting you’d expect in a modern indoor office environment, but on the scale of an outdoor sports pitch) MHC will now be able to stage matches at national level, in poor daylight and at night, on their established all-weather pitches. £50,000 came from National Lottery money via Sport England and £10,000 came from the club.
MHC dates back to 1878 and is a major part of our Maidstone community. It runs 4 ladies and 7 men’s teams every week and, like Melody’s dance organisation, the club caters for around 250 members, some as young as 5 and others still playing well into their 60s. Increasing participation in sport and other physical leisure activities, particularly for women, is one of my personal objectives as Minister for Sport.
Melody’s school and MHC are both great proponents of that goal and they have my full support. I recently worked on the successful (and abominably poorly reported) England bid for the 2018 Ladies Hockey World Cup finals . I tasted once again the sport I loved at Junior County level and it rekindled a yearning to pick up the stick again. I may well do so following warm receptions to the idea in my village of Marden and at MHC. I’m comin’ girls - work permitting.
Helen's column is published in The Kent Messenger and on this website each Friday.
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