Dons vice-chairman George Yule kicks off Golden Games 2015

Aberdeen FC vice-chairman George Yule today [Thurs 28 May] launched Aberdeen's Golden Games – with a game of pickleball in the Marischal College Quadrangle.

Golden Games Launch groupGeorge teamed up with Golden Games participants at the launch event, where a demonstration was staged of the new racquet sport combining tennis, table tennis and badminton.

They were joined at the launch event by Councillor Lesley Dunbar, Chair of the Shadow Integration Joint Board for health and social care, and Judith Proctor, Chief Officer of the Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership.

The award-winning Games is now in its fifth year and is bigger and better than ever, featuring five days of free activities for the over-65s – with more than 30 different events at venues across Aberdeen, from Monday 08 June to Friday 12 June.

Participation is set to more than double this year, with more than 1,000 bookings already made. The oldest participant booked in so far is aged 102.

The programme gets under way on the Monday with activities including technogym, line dancing, swimming, a health walk, table tennis, badminton, and a care home pentathlon. Tuesday will feature sessions including seated zumba, pickleball, a bicycle roadshow, chi gung, walking football and croquet. Wednesday includes pilates, boccia, retro rhythms, and outdoor and 10-pin bowling. Thursday's activities feature golf, ice skating, a bird walk on Bennachie, and an open gym session. Friday includes Nordic walking, stretch exercises, tai chi, putting, and tennis.

Participants can also enjoy a social event at Pittodrie Stadium at the close of the Thursday programme, from 6.30-8.30pm.

Golden Games Launch - George YuleGeorge Yule said: "It is so heartening to see more older people then ever before signing up to take part in this year's Golden Games. Staying active in later life is so important for health and wellbeing and the Games is the ideal way to get a taste of what's on offer for the over-65s in this great sporting city."

Councillor Lesley Dunbar, Chair of the Shadow Integration Joint Board for health and social care, said: "The fact that well over 1,000 bookings have been made by well over 300 people so far shows just how popular the Golden Games has become. The Games has really captured folk's imaginations, with many people signing up for several sessions.

"The festival is all about staying active and meeting new people – and I am sure that amidst all the competition, new friendships will be formed which will long outlast the week of the Games."

Judith Proctor, Chief Officer, Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "The Golden Games 2015 has inspired a great number of older people from across the city to book activities for this very special week of events. The Games make it as easy as possible for over-65s of all abilities to try out an impressive range of sports and physical activities.

"For participants who are trying an activity for the first time, I hope it will inspire them to continue to be active and reap the health benefits – these include physical and mental wellbeing and socialising. I commend the team who have put together this excellent programme and wish everyone taking part a very rewarding time."

The Golden Games lifted first prize in the Association for Public Service Excellence Awards 2013, beating off competition from seven other UK local authorities in the Health and Wellbeing category. The initiative is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian, Aberdeen Sports Village, Sport Aberdeen and Aberdeen FC Community Trust. The programme is designed to be suitable for people of all abilities – and offers plenty of opportunities for people to keep up their activities all year round.

Booking is essential. Booking forms and the full programme are available on the  Golden Games page on the City Council website. Booking forms can be returned to Freepost RSSH - XZKT- ATSC, Social Care and Wellbeing, Business Hub 8, 1st Floor North, Marischal College, Broad Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1AB. Bookings can also be made on the Booking Hotline, tel 01224 522270 – phone lines open 2–5pm until the closing date of 29 May.