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Gillingham Anchorians Hockey Club raise money for children’s mental health charity Place2Be with 500-mile challenge

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A team of 40 people linked to Gillingham Anchorians Hockey Club covered over 500 miles of activity to raise £1,500 for children’s mental health charity Place2Be.

The event was the brainchild of Anchs’ club captain Ben Selby, who had turned to running when lockdown restrictions affected hockey matches.

Joined by sister Gemma and former club chairman and running veteran Gary Jackson, the trio then encouraged former and current club-mates, plus work colleagues, to join and get active by setting themselves a personal challenge.

Selby said: “The aim was to encourage people to get active – it didn’t matter what they chose to do, what distance or time, but just to get out and maybe push themselves.

“We’ve all found that during the lockdown, we’ve needed to do something to help our mental and physical health.

“We’ve had people running, walking, cycling, mountain biking, sea swimming, doing karate, cricket and hockey.

“It turned into quite a community response and the support from family, friends and work colleagues has been incredible.”

Leading the running stats was Jackson who clocked up a huge 48.6 miles, including a marathon.

He also encouraged a number of Aviva workmates to take part and secured £250 in funding from the organisation.

Four other people, including Ben and Gemma managed marathon distances, while there were also 13 half-marathons completed, 12 people notching up 10km and a number of 5km including their youngest participants - Carys Browne and Holly Burston (aged 11 and 10). Former hockey players, now living in Australia, Scotland and France, also joined in.

Anchorians chairwoman Laura Hopkins was among those finishing a 10km.

She said: “It’s been a difficult year for everyone and we know that children have particularly suffered - supporting Place2Be fits into the club’s drive to support people with their mental wellbeing.

“Director of junior coaching Harry McDonald is leading on the drive to foster links with local mental health charities and training mental health first aiders within the club.

“Hockey is now being played again and it’s a great opportunity to have fun, get fit and meet new people so we’d encourage anyone who’s thinking of giving it a go – any age or ability - to visit www.gahc.co.uk for information.”

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