A mother and daughter's shared passion for boccia Beth Moulam is a player on the GB Boccia Team and her mum, Liz, is a referee, coach, classifier, and one of our very own Boccia England Board members. Here they each tell the story of their boccia journey from their own perspective. Beth Mum and I have both been passionate about boccia for over 16 years, together and separately. I was 10 when I was first invited to try out boccia and participate in our local youth games. It was only during that event that we realized I was competitive (which is not surprising as both my parents are too!). After the youth games I wanted to continue playing. Mum investigated and found there were no clubs within traveling distance of where we lived, so with another parent she set up Boccia Epsom and Ewell (the BEEs). They went off and did coaching and refereeing courses and as soon as they acquired local council funding we were off together on a journey that hasn’t yet ended. For my part I’ve progressed from regional competition, to national, to friendly international, UK Championships and finally now I’m on the world class programme with UK Boccia. This is in no small part to my Mum who still coaches at club level, alongside this she was invited to coach England Talent Group and then England Lions (B squad) between 2012 and 2017. Mum encouraged me (and Dad) to do the community coach and community official awards in 2008, and before I was playing at a top level we would all officiate at events. Mum qualified as a national referee first, but Dad soon caught up and they both now qualified Head Referees. Mum is also on the Board of Boccia England. Knowing the rules has been invaluable on my boccia journey and tea-time in the Moulam household would often see us discussing the intricacies of all manner of boccia from strategy to tactics and rules. Dad would often support me at competitions in the UK, but Mum has made her own way in boccia; she has always seen the potential in players and trained as a classifier in 2014. Pre-Covid you could find us at different competitions and parts of the country, or in the same venue but rarely the same hotel. Mum moves in the world of officialdom whilst I am there to compete; we are together but apart. I have no doubt I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and passion of my Mum for boccia, but likewise neither would Mum, who has turned a hobby into a way of life. Liz When I saw my child participating in sport for the first time I got an all over tingly feeling. This was special and she was having so much fun. I thought to myself: I have to find a way for her to continue. I never envisaged that taking a relatively unheard of sport and setting up a small local club could play such a meaningful part in my life. There was an enormous thrill to finding new players, young people who could be empowered to play sport. And then the delight of seeing them come back week after week to take part, make friends and network with other families. Boccia is the sport that keeps on giving. Only a few years after starting my boccia journey I was refereeing and coaching nationally. It’s always been hard to watch Beth compete, I find it challenging to sit on the sidelines, so refereeing has been a great distraction and honour. It’s a huge privilege to go out onto court and see competition first-hand whilst ensuring fair play. Being a classifier is something I really enjoy, I did the course initially to help with coaching. For the athlete’s classification is often a time of anxiety, as a classifier it is our role to ensure a level playing field by carrying out both bench assessments and on court observations. It’s a technical and complex role, and getting it right is important for everyone. Boccia has become a lifestyle over the years. It’s always good to catch up with the athletes and their families at the venue, as well as officials and the BE staff team. Giving back is so rewarding, I was encouraged by my own parents to volunteer from an early age, and it seems to be in our blood. In 2014 Beth, and my husband Jon and I moved to York and set-up Jorvik Boccia club, currently with a team in the Boccia England Super League.