Fenland ‘bandy’ team invited to play the winter sport in Sweden - but they need £5,000 in sponsorship to get them there

PUBLISHED: 14:12 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:12 19 July 2018

CG Tebbutt and Bury fen club members

CG Tebbutt and Bury fen club members

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Fenland’s ‘bandy’ team have been invited to play the winter sport in Sweden next month – but they need £5,000 in sponsorship to help get them there.

Rev Lyn Gibb-de Swarte, president of the Great Britain Bandy Federation gave a talk in the church, and the brownies enjoyed a scrimmage afterwards.Rev Lyn Gibb-de Swarte, president of the Great Britain Bandy Federation gave a talk in the church, and the brownies enjoyed a scrimmage afterwards.

Like all sports, the players are hoping for sponsorship to offset their costs of around £5,000 for training and travel.

They have been asked to play a friendly in Sweden mid-August and are looking forward to icing a team at the World Cup championships in January 2019.

Although it ceased in the UK in 1913 after Great Britain won the European championship, a new bandy team is bringing the winter sport back to life.

The game of bandy is immortalised in a most unlikely place – on the badge of the 1st Bluntisham Brownies.

The founder of modern bandy that’s currently played in 26 countries, was alderman CG Tebbutt JP, who was born, lived, and worshipped, at Bluntisham Baptist Church and who is now buried in its churchyard.

Rev Lyn Gibb-de Swarte, president of the Great Britain Bandy Federation, and secretary of the GBBF, Rev Cathy Gibb-de Swarte, taking sticks and balls along with them, gave a talk in the church, and the brownies enjoyed a scrimmage afterwards.

They enjoyed it so much that a coach trip to Peterborough’s Planet Ice is being planned for local brownies to try it out on the ice in September.

Bandy was always the number one team sport for speed skaters. It’s fast and non-violent, with rules similar to football and field hockey, and CG Tebbutt was a champion of both in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Speed skating and bandy were played in all the villages on and around the frozen Cambridgeshire washes in the winter at that time, and Littleport famously hosted speed skating races and bandy matches courtesy of its own benefactor Thomas Peacock.

In fact, plans are drawn for an outdoor artificially frozen ice stadium in Littleport just like Mr Peacock’s ‘Ice Ground’ that he provided there, albeit dependent on the temperature dropping to below zero for a suitable length of time.

Bandy is a winter sport of course, and although it ceased here in the UK in 1913 after GB won the European championship, a new team has arisen here on the Fens in 2018.

Any company or individual who would like to help keep CG Tebbutt’s legacy alive, or assist the plans for the ice stadium in memory of Thomas Peacock should contact the GBBF via gbbandyfederation@btinternet.com

For more information visit www.gbbandyfederation.uk or www.littleporticestadiumproject.com

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