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New table tennis session launched for over 55s in Castle Mall

PUBLISHED: 08:15 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:15 18 April 2018

A new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. From left, Doug Randall, activator from Norwich City Table Tennis Club; Pat Ross, former British table tennis champion; and Robert Bradley, Castle Mall manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. From left, Doug Randall, activator from Norwich City Table Tennis Club; Pat Ross, former British table tennis champion; and Robert Bradley, Castle Mall manager. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A new event has launched in Norwich to bring older people together and improve their fitness using the power of table tennis.

Pat Ross, a former British champion, plays table tennis in a new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPat Ross, a former British champion, plays table tennis in a new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Bat and Chat is a free social table tennis session for people over the age of 55 at the Castle Mall shopping centre.

The event will run from 1pm to 3pm every Tuesday in the Ping Pong Parlour. Every three weeks the session will be a dementia friendly one.

Free tea, coffee and biscuits are also available at each weekly session.

Pat Ross, 85, from Norwich, attended Tuesday’s launch to keep up her skills, having been in the British championships when she was younger.

A new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. From left, Doug Randall, activator from Norwich City Table Tennis Club; Pat Ross, former British table tennis champion; Robert Bradley, Castle Mall manager; Trevor Sparkes, former county player; Gemma Hyde, Castle Mall marketing manager; and Mary Carlson, who is Pat's companion. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA new group, Bat and Chat, bringing older people together to improve their fitness playing table tennis and socialising over a cuppa at the Castle Mall. From left, Doug Randall, activator from Norwich City Table Tennis Club; Pat Ross, former British table tennis champion; Robert Bradley, Castle Mall manager; Trevor Sparkes, former county player; Gemma Hyde, Castle Mall marketing manager; and Mary Carlson, who is Pat's companion. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: “I came along because I enjoy table tennis. It would be a good idea 
for people to come along because it’s good exercise at any age and it helps if you’re left handed.”

Table tennis is an activity like no other. 
It’s easy to play, interactive and energising. The health benefits of playing are promising for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Organisers of the event also took to the tables to show exactly how much fun it is to Bat and Chat.

Robert Bradley, centre manager at Castle Mall, said: “In everything we do at Castle Mall, we want to support and work with our local community.

“This is just another brilliant way of us helping another key age group, by giving them a small bit of exercise and a place to come and have a social chat. We hope they’ll enjoy coming along and making new friends, competitive or otherwise.”

With 6.4 million people over the age of 55 currently inactive, table tennis is a perfect sport for those wishing to get active and stay that way.

The sessions will be hosted by Doug Randall who is on hand to teach players the basics, some tips or just be there for a chat.

Anyone can take part, whether it’s your first time playing table tennis or you’ve been playing for years.

Bat and Chat takes place at the Ping Pong Parlour on the second floor of Castle Mall near Poundland.

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