Hearts and minds: Bid to fight fans’ Alzheimer’s by rekindling memories of Jambo glory days

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SCOTTISH football supporters suffering from Alzheimer’s are being invited to relive the glory days as part of a scheme designed to rekindle lost memories.

The Football Memories project – set up by Alzheimer’s Scotland (AS) – sees elderly supporters meet in groups and reminisce about their days as a young fan.

In the hour-long sessions they discuss things such as team line-ups, memorable wonder goals and favourite players.

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Hearts archivist John Baxter, with historians David Speed and Bill Smith

 

AS said this kind of memory recollection could help spark memory synapses which would help dementia sufferers with their short-term memory.

Michael White, a Falkirk FC historian, praised AS for the project and said the positive results that have been noted so far have been “humbling”.

He said: “Some of the moments are quite emotional – to see the change in behaviour, mood and self-esteem from those men is quite humbling.

“In Inverness, a lady came along with her husband saying she wasn’t sure whether he would cope.

 

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“But she came back at the end of the hour and broke into floods of tears because he conducting a full conversation and was lit up.

“It’s powerful stuff. With Scottish men of a certain generation football was huge part of their life.

“When you take them back to that time people who haven’t spoken for months on end finally open up.”

More than a dozen participants are due to attend a taster sessions at Tynecastle – home of Hearts FC – starting at the end of this month.

Ben Craigie-Sharland, development manager for the Big Hearts Community Trust who promote good causes among Hearts fans, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to get involved and help this group of people in a way not though possible.”

The Hearts workshop will launch on February 26 with a second event being held on March 5.

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