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Coronavirus Kent: Boys play football two days in a row on Bockhanger Community Hub field in Ashford

For two days in a row, youngsters been playing football together despite the increased social distancing measures to defeat Covid-19.

Residents near the site of the former Bockhanger Community Hub in Ashford have noted incidents of boys playing football today and yesterday.

The former site of the Bockhanger Community centre is now being used for a football pitch despite the lockdown
The former site of the Bockhanger Community centre is now being used for a football pitch despite the lockdown

Today, eight individuals have been noted as being on the field having a kick-about.

Nearby homeowners have expressed dismay that the message to stay at home is being repeatedly ignored by the group.

Martin Horne said: “Young guys particularly are still not understanding why not hanging out together for a while is so important.

“Dealing with this awful virus is dependent on everyone being disciplined.

“Boys were playing football at Bockhanger Community centre yesterday and so many young guys seem to be living as if nothing is happening. It only takes one infected person - and sometimes you have no idea you have it - to then pass it on to families.

People were seen playing tennis at the courts at The Ridge, Kennington on Saturday
People were seen playing tennis at the courts at The Ridge, Kennington on Saturday

“Young guys might feel invincible but they are not and certainly their families aren’t.

“We are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. Changing the mindset from not wanting to catch it to not wanting to spread it to others is important.

“I really don’t want to be a killjoy but this situation is so serious. Most people get it but just a few don’t.

“These guys have to realise that right now at the William Harvey there are people arriving with the virus past the state that even a ventilator can help them.”

Yesterday KentOnline reported that a nearby tennis court was being used by people enjoying the weekend's sunny weather.

The site formerly housed the Bockhanger Community Hub, which was pulled down last year and has since left the field wide open.

Ashford Borough councillor Diccon Spain has emphasised the importance of social distancing
Ashford Borough councillor Diccon Spain has emphasised the importance of social distancing

The area’s borough councillor, Cllr Diccon Spain, echoed the thanks to people abiding by the social distancing rules and recognises the difficult ask being made of people.

However he noted that playing football was a “reckless” move and also pointed out that young people can become seriously ill with the coronavirus as well.

Cllr Spain said: "This situation is tough for everyone. I realise it's really difficult for young people who want to play football together with their mates just like they did before the virus, but sadly the reality is they are now dicing with death, not just amongst themselves but also their families and anyone they come into contact with.

“Make no mistake, this virus also kills the fit and the young as we've seen from recent news reports.

“Only a few days ago there was a Channel 4 report from a hospital where all the Coronavirus patients in Intensive Care were 50 and under and all previously fit and well.

“Most people are staying at home and when they do go out are ultra careful about social distancing. “None of us can afford to take chances like this not just with our own lives but all those we come into contact with.

“The virus doesn't care if you are fit and young it will kill you just the same as anyone else, or even if you don't develop symptoms it will kill people you love.

“Don't let this virus win, stay home, stay safe, when you have to be out keep social distancing, and help protect our NHS so it doesn't get overwhelmed.”

However, some Ashford residents have defended the boys, saying that they are keeping within government guidelines.

One homeowner said: "There have been groups of 2 or 3 boys playing with a ball in said place. but those boys are from the same household.

"Two brothers playing football outside their home for less than an hour does not break lockdown rules.

"It's things like this that make it harder for communities- things like not being able to go for a walk with your children without facing abuse and being 'shamed' on Facebook.

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