Volunteers from Midlothian showed the power sport has in improving lives after spending a fortnight in Trindad and Tobago, helping to build homes and introducing walking football to the country.
The team of 12 from the Ageing Well project, which included winners from last year’s Scottish Walking Football Championship, were in the Caribbean putting in the hard graft to help those less fortunate and promote the health and social benefits of the game.
The group worked with Habitat for Humanity, a charity which builds housing for their families to give them a better life. They spent a day painting the inside and outside of a house which would go to a disabled lady and her daughter whilst they laid the foundations for another house.
They were also involved in a walking football tournament.
Vivian Wallace (53), Ageing Well co-ordinator, told the Advertiser it was a once in a lifetime experience for the group.
She said: “It was fantastic being in a different culture and meeting lots of really nice people. The charity was fantastic, they treated us so well, it was great to achieve something. No matter what age, everybody in the group was really working their butts off. It was hot, well into the 30s and it was tough work hand-mixing cement.”
Before the tournament there was a couple of TV appearances with Vivian on popular chat show Cup of Joe and Glenn Milne on CNMG Carribean to promote the benefits of the game.
The team played in the walking football tournament at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the national stadium of Trinidad and Tobago in the Port of Spain. They won the tournament but the lasting impact of their visit meant more.
Vivian added: “The local police officers also fielded a team in the tournament and hope to use it to make links to build a better relationship with the community.
“Some of the places can be rough but they were using it as a way to introduce themselves to make that connection with the locals.
“It just shows the power of sport has in being able to raise awareness and changed people’s lives.
“The people were so taken up by the sport. They have the same problems over here like obesity.
“It was really lovely, they enjoyed the game and took it a step further as they introduced it to children and they really embraced it.
“Playing in their national stadium and working together painting the house with everyone taking so much pride in their work were real highlights.”
Midlothian team that went out: Kenny Davidson, Peter Frame, Jean Bell, Glenn Milne, Eileen Buchan, Kathleen Noonan, Linda Milne, Toos Van Veltzen, Pam Mackay, Ali Paterson, John Mackay and Vivian Wallace.