Walking Football Spain started life in May 2017 and their first team, WFS Marbella sponsored by BodyWorks Health Clinic, played their first ever Walking Football tournament in the Algarve in Portugal in November 2017. Unfortunately, just after their second match in the Algarve, one of their players and popular Marbella figure, Gordon Powell who owned Chill Out Beds, collapsed and died immediately from a sudden heart attack.
A first aider was present at the event but they had to wait until the Portuguese paramedics arrived before a defibrillator could be administered. The shocking and unexpected death of a very popular figure in the team and in Marbella, made founder of Walking Football Spain, Adam Chandler, think that they needed to get their own defibrillator available pitchside at all of their games.
Adam said, “Our Walking Football players range in age from 38 to 76 with the majority being retired expats over the age of 50. But we do have many players in their 60s and 70s and so having a defibrillator present at all of our games will just give us ‘peace of mind’ that if a similar situation happened again, then at least we would have the tools available to do all we can.
“As it happened, a defibrillator would probably not have saved Gordon’s life as his arteries had hardened to such an extent that they cut off the blood supply to his heart. But we may be in a situation in the future where immediate defibrillation may save the life of one of our players.”
However, the club did not have the £1,000 required to pay for their own defibrillator. But it was suggested by one of their players and sponsors, Martin Jenkins from Blacktower Financial Management, that they look to crowd fund it on JustGiving.com.
So Adam Chandler set up a page on JustGiving.com and shared that page with all the members of the team, along with family and friends of Gordon Powell, and in just 8 days they had raised the full amount required.
The defibrillator arrived just in time to be taken to an Over 65s Walking Football Tournament in Gibraltar on the 7th March.
Walking Football Spain fielded two teams at the tournament, WFS Marbella sponsored by BodyWorks Health Clinic and WFS San Pedro sponsored by Fluent Finance Abroad.
This was the first time that Gibraltar had hosted a Walking Football tournament and the event was sponsored by the Gibraltar Football Association, who laid on food and drink after the event.
Plus founder of Walking Football Spain, Adam Chandler, was presented with a Gibraltar Football Association pennant, like in an international match, and a glass Rock of Gibraltar, by Leslie Asquez who is the Grassroots Manager of the Gibraltar FA, and Les Curry, who is the Technical Director of the Gibraltar FA.
Walking Football Spain will be arranging a return leg of the tournament in Marbella for April.