The Female Festival of Sport organised by Headquarters South West has been held at Tidworth, Wiltshire aimed at encouraging service personnel of all ranks to get involved and maybe try a sport for the first time.
Colonel Gary McDade, Commander Headquarters South West took time out to visit all the venues where the sports were taking place:
To witness our great soldiers taking part in all these sports as we emerge from the pandemic, when you couldn’t have events like these for so long is fantastic. Colonel Gary McDade
Commander Headquarters South West
“Today is all about participation, having fun and bringing people together.
To witness our great soldiers taking part in all these sports as we emerge from the pandemic, when you couldn’t have events like these for so long is fantastic.
As we know, sport is fundamental to the physical and mental wellbeing of all our people, it’s great to see.”
With nearly 200 attending, the Female Festival of Sport brought soldiers from a range of regiments together and gave them the opportunity to take part in basketball, badminton, 5-a-side football, squash, and everyone's favourite, the military specific British Army Warrior Fitness initiative which involves casualty drags among other strength and conditioning exercises.
The day provided an opportunity for those involved to showcase the sports they specialise in and try other sports on offer in the Army that they may wish to get involved with.
Staff Sergeant Johnny Bedford from the Queen’s Royal Hussars was one of those organising the event:
“We have brought together female soldiers from the South West and beyond to immerse themselves in a day of sport and have a go at some sports that they may not have tried before. It’s a fun day out, a chance to network and it also gives us the chance to scout for sporting talent of the future within the Army.”
Lance Corporal Charlotte Badley and her team from 4 MI Battalion took part in the badminton:
“We’ve taken part in the doubles competition although none of us have played this sport before. For us it’s all about trying out these different sports and getting the opportunity to meet with people from other units.”
Trooper Evangeline Leeding is with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, based in London:
“For us it’s about team building, trying out different sports, putting yourself out there and building your confidence too.”
And she adds:
“Sport is massively important to me and it also gives me the opportunity to get out and meet different people, ‘shake off the shoulders’ as they say and look after your mental wellbeing. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet those on the armoured side of the regiment that I’ve never interacted with before”
After organising this years’ successful event, Staff Sergeant Johnny Bedford looks to the future:
“We are hoping to make this an annual event and see it grow in popularity. It also allows the girls to showcase their talents and get recognised, which could then get them into sports at Corps level and Army level.”