Wapping Hockey Club puts boot in with rainbow shoelaces for gay rights

Rainbow laces at Wapping Hockey Club

Rainbow laces at Wapping Hockey Club - Credit: Wapping HC

The biggest sports club in east London has won a £6,000 sponsorship deal and moved into new headquarters for its 25th anniversary.

The ambitious Wapping Hockey Club has opened its new league campaign season by supporting Stonewall gay rights campaign with all its 18 teams wearing rainbow bootlaces—and offering them to the opposition.

The club has just signed the deal with the Cape restaurant and bar in Thomas More Square, Wapping, which has set aside a regular meeting room for members.

The bar has created an area for club meetings, notice boards and a place to entertain visiting teams, and is also donating 10p for every pint of Snakebite it sells, towards refurbishing the club’s home ground at Wapping’s John Orwell sports centre.

“Community funding really helps clubs like ours build on the 2012 Olympics legacy,” said club chairman Stuart Burnside.

“It means we can buy a full set of home shirts for our teams and start east London’s first-ever umpire development centre and a youth programme.”

The sponsorship package was unveiled at a special ribbon-cutting breakfast launch at the Cape last week with Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick and the London Assembly’s John Biggs.

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The club decided on a change of venue because their previous meeting place became too small now the club has doubled its membership—it has 250 members.

But this is all just the beginning for the club, with ambitious dreams of becoming a National League side after its sponsorship deal.

Wapping Hockey has grown to 18 teams in six leagues since it was first set up in 1989. Its top team is third-tier nationally, equal to First Division football—it regards itself as “hockey’s Leyton Orient”.