“We go again!”
That’s the motto of Blackpool Hockey Festival – and committee members are certainly living up to it as they prepare for next year’s event already.
It comes after last weekend’s matches, socialising and fund-raising for Blackpool Carers Centre was hailed a “massive success.”
David Gee, Blackpool Hockey Festival secretary, said: “There were 31 teams from all over the UK and a team from Germany.
“Everyone had a fantastic time and we just about survived the weather!
“It was a massive success.”
Around 700 people attended the Festival, playing matches during the day before heading to a marquee at Blackpool Cricket Club for entertainment and then on to Blackpool town centre for a taste of the resort’s nightlife.
And at the heart of the five-day event is fund-raising for Blackpool Carers Centre.
The charity’s HQ. Beaverbrooks House, on Newton Drive, hosted the President’s Dinner this year, with food provided by Spire Fylde Coast Hospitals.
David added: “The Carers Centre does fantastic work. We have raised £6,400 over the years for the charity and we estimate this year we’ll have raised another £1,000.
“It was great to go along to Beaverbrooks House to see where the money goes.
“We heard from some young carers who spoke very eloquently.
“It was very moving to hear their stories. It is such a worthwhile cause.
“We have already started organising for next year – ‘We go again’ for 2019!”
The Festival – in its 67th year and one of Europe’s biggest hockey events, is organised by a not-for-profit organisation made up of a 12-strong committee.
This year saw a special visit from Bernard Greaves, whose father George – a Lancashire county goalie – founded the event in 1952 after suggesting Stanley Park was the perfect place for a hockey festival.
A team from Macclesfield Hockey Club – calling themselves Wish You Were Beer – were crowned winners while The Mighty Chap from Croydon Hockey Club came runners-up.
Leeds Medics and Dentists hockey players won the award for the team that most enters into the spirit of the Festival while retiring umpire Christine Dennis was also honoured.
And, at the President’s Dinner, DJ Dave Pope won the Centenary Trophy as recognition for his contribution.
Michelle Smith, chief executive of Blackpool Carers Centre, said: “Blackpool Hockey Festival has been supporting us for seven years. It was wonderful to introduce them to some of our young carers at the President’s Dinner.
“It was a great success and the speeches from our young carers were so moving.”