When Zoe Bettinson moved to Cumbria in 2015, she decided to take up an old hobby. Over a year and a half later she's become a badminton fanatic, and a dedicated member of Marchon Badminton Club.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I moved up north in May 2015.
Originally, I'm from Cheltenham but when my husband reached his pension point, we decided to move to where he grew up - St Bees.
How do you keep active?
I keep active through running, swimming, weights and most recently badminton.
Why did you to get involved with a club?
I got involved with Marchon Badminton Club as I've always wanted to start playing badminton again, but the three times I tried joining a club down south I left not wanting to go back.
Marchon Badminton Club changed that.
I decided to give it a go and I haven´t looked back since. There are really not enough words to describe the club and its members and I don´t want to sound cheesy or clichéd but I could not wait to go back.
A vibrant, encouraging, and friendly group of people who play excellent badminton, but also encourage beginners and those who haven´t played for years like myself. The total opposite to the clubs I've experienced in the south.
A lot of the club members are always at hand to offer any advice and tips on playing badminton, and do not mind giving up time to offer constructive criticism on how you can improve.
What’s your favourite thing that’s come as a result of your involvement?
It's difficult to pinpoint only one thing, but playing badminton again as helped me get 'me' back.
It is easy to lose who you are when you're a mother to two small kids and quite housebound with a husband who works away.
I feel more than a mother now.
I wake up every Thursday excited about the prospect of going to Marchon Badminton Club.
My self-esteem and confidence has come back which as all mothers know can ebb away at times.
In those two hours at club nights or match nights, I feel like I am a kid again with no responsibilities or worries, I am totally free.
What are the benefits of getting active with a club, rather than by yourself?
There are so many benefits to joining a club like Marchon - make friends who share a similar love of the sport, gain a social life and be active with others.
When I run and swim, these are very insular sports and as a result can be monotonous and not as much fun.
What has joining the club changed about your daily life?
It's given me more enthusiasm about everything I do in general now, because once a week I do something I love.
Since playing competitively again, I have more self-worth and confidence.
It has given me personal goals too: I want to improve as much as I can, so much so that I have acquired the services of a badminton coach who just so happens to run Marchon Badminton Club.
He is always on hand to help me improve every week at club nights, as well as during our 1-2-1 coaching sessions.
How do you stay motivated?
I do not need motivation to go to the club.
I do for swimming as it can feel like a chore and at times in the past I have preferred just to relax on the sofa after putting the kids down but with badminton I cannot wait to get on the court.
Who keeps you inspired (whether in sports or otherwise)?
My family inspire me every day and the organiser of the club encourages and helps me enormously.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get more active?
To mothers in particular and to those who played a sport and are thinking about starting up again - just do it as being active and being part of a club is about so much more than just keeping fit.
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