Last week Colin McCarthy, a qualified WPBSA Snooker Coach, welcomed George Freeman, MP for Mid-Norfolk, to Woodside Snooker Centre in Dereham.
The visit was organised as part of a campaign launched by the EPSB to encourage Members of Parliament to visit their local snooker club.
In collaboration with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker, the EPSB has sent out some 60 letters to MPs across England to raise awareness of the contribution that snooker clubs make to their local communities.
With the help of Harry and Jacob, who both attend the club’s junior coaching group, they gave Mr Freeman a tour of the club, a talk through the range of programmes and players the club supports, and they even managed to put the local MP to the test!
Jacob challenged Mr Freeman to a potting competition, which was a very close contest, but Jacob edged the win.
Also on hand were three club members – Emma, Clare and James – each sponsored by Woodside. Emma and Clare play on the World Women’s Snooker tour, while James plays on the World Disability Billiards and Snooker tour.
Woodside Snooker Centre, which also has a venue in Norwich, works alongside the EPSB, snooker’s world governing body the WPBSA and the Norfolk Billiards and Snooker Association (NBSA) to grow the sport from the grass roots.
The Dereham club runs a junior coaching group every week for eight to 14-year-olds and is currently at full capacity. The venue will also host a Stage One qualifying event for the PowerGlide English Under-14 Championship this autumn, scheduled for Sunday 4 December.
On the visit of George Freeman MP, Colin McCarthy commented: “Having your local MP visiting the club to help promote the game and increase the awareness of what the WPBSA and EPSB is doing to grow the sport is fantastic.
“For me, hearing George talk about childhood memories – playing on a 6’ x 3’ table in his parents’ house – and watching Jacob help by teaching him what he had been taught, is what it’s all about.”
The visit has established a new connection between the club and its local MP, which it is hoped will give the club greater standing in its community.
It represents the third club visit by a Member of Parliament so far this autumn, following Peter Gibson MP’s drop in to Q House Snooker Academy in Darlington and Alan Campbell MP’s call at North East Snooker Centre prior to its hosting the first WPBSA Q Tour event of this season.
Further MP visits are planned for November and December – check out EPSB socials for further details.