Ayr United’s walking football team are set to take part in an upcoming “Celebration of Walking Football” event in aid of Age Scotland, the national charity for older people.

The event, hosted at Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre on Sunday, November 21 will showcase the benefits and fun of walking football and mark a welcome return to the game after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The celebration will stage two competitive walking football tournaments, one for players aged over 50 and the other for those over 65, each featuring several teams from across Scotland – including Ayr United.

As well as the competitive element, a team from host club Oriam Walking Football (OWF) will take part in an eight-hour endurance marathon challenge, committing to ‘walking 9 to 5’.

Their walkathon will begin at 9am and they will play 16 back-to-back games against a series of invited teams.

The events aim to raise as much as possible for chosen charity Age Scotland in the process.

Alan McDonald from the Oriam Walking Football Charity Group explained where the idea for the event came from.

He said: “During the Covid-19 lockdown, I did a small amount of voluntary work for Care and Repair Edinburgh, a member of the Age Scotland family. I was struck by just how isolated and lonely people could become in their later life and shared this on a Zoom call with some fellow players.

“From there, the seeds for this event were planted and ten months later after a lot of hard work by a dedicated group of people, here we are. We will host around 250 players all enjoying a great day out and supporting a worthwhile cause at the same time.”

Age Scotland’s Chief Executive, Brian Sloan, will also be part of the team taking part in the marathon challenge.

He said: “Walking football, and the rising popularity of walking sport in general, is helping to make sport enjoyable, sociable and inclusive for everyone and I’ve been delighted to see it going from strength to strength in Scotland.

“It deserves to be celebrated, so it’s wonderful that teams from across the country are coming together for this exciting event – especially after a long period away due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“We at Age Scotland are honoured and grateful that Oriam Walking Football have named us their chosen charity, and I’m personally looking forward to getting involved as a member of the marathon challenge team on the day.

“We hope you’ll show support for what is sure to be a great day of camaraderie, fun and friendly competition. Your donations will make a real difference to the lives of older people struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

"Every £10 raised will allow us to make two calls through our 0800 12 44 222 friendship line which offers comfort and reassurance to older people who might not hear from anyone else during the week.”