Sporting Memories group member, Norman Deakin

Just before the Pandemic began, in February 2020 my dad decided to join the Chorley FC Community Foundation Sporting Memories Group, which met weekly at the Chorley football club.  At almost 90, he had just become the full time carer for my mum who had had a stroke and had been diagnosed with mixed dementia. Despite some logistical difficulties in getting care for mum, having to use taxis and dad’s own walking and sight difficulties, the Sporting Memories group immediately became one of the highlights of his week and he would tell me all about what had been discussed and done at the meetings. 

During the first Lockdown, the Sporting Pink initiative was established and I managed to teach dad how to access them from his iPad, even though Dad had never really used email before. Keith McIntosh, who runs the Chorley group, would phone to check in on him too and in the summer, as lockdown eased, Keith would personally bring round the Sporting Pinks and would have a socially distanced chat with dad, a gesture which was much appreciated by all the family, as by this time mum had had to move into a care home and dad was on his own. 

As we moved into the autumn of 2020 we managed to install Zoom onto dad’s iPad and with support, Dad was able to join the Zoom

 meetings which were set up by Chorley Sporting Memories. Once again these became the highlight of his week.  He enjoyed listening to the personal accounts of ex-footballers, show jumpers and a golfer amongst others who attended the weekly meetings on Zoom.  At some point, dad did have real problems accessing the meeting on his iPad and Keith arranged technical support to sort out the problem for him, which meant dad could once again access the meetings. We were extremely grateful for this support. Dad enjoyed all the meetings and would talk about what they had discussed, but he particularly enjoyed the ‘Sporting Memories Christmas party’ on Zoom. 

In January 2021, Dad took up the option of the Sporting Memories Kitbag which Keith had shared with the group and with me via email, and then in February Dad agreed to be interviewed over Zoom at one of the meetings. Whilst he was quite apprehensive about this to start with, he really enjoyed talking about his own sporting achievements and his teaching days.  With Dad’s permission, Keith shared this on the local Facebook page and I was then able to share the comments his post received, as many of Dad’s former students remembered him fondly and sent their regards. Another lovely idea organised by Chorley Sporting Memories was the surprise St. George’s day tea box, which was delivered to Dad in April and really made his day. 

More recently and as things have begun to ease, the Chorley Sporting Memories group has carefully ‘opened up’ again and Dad is once again thoroughly enjoying being able to attend the extremely well run sessions, whenever he can.  The idea of the Sporting Memories Foundation is one that we think is a fabulous idea and I have nothing but praise for the way Keith and his team run the Chorley group. I cannot thank them enough for the care and support they have shown and continue to show my dad and the enjoyment dad gets from the group. 

Story shared by Rosalind Hamson, daughter of Norman Deakin (Sporting Memories group member).

Peter Holton, Service Manager Central for Age UK Lancashire (AUKL) has had a very successful working partnership with Sporting Memories over the last few years, and he says:  

In this time AUKL has referred several clients over to Sporting Memories.This has been mutually beneficial to both parties. The volunteers really do make strong relationships with our clients and the team are always being creative with new ideas around other sporting activities to keep people engaged. The environment created is very friendly and welcoming. One example we have is where a volunteer went the extra mile, supporting the client to get to football matches and she even got our client to meet her favourite team she supported when they were playing over here in Chorley. 

Keith is very approachable and always available to join us in meetings and promote the service and partnership working. We are always kept regularly up to date with activities and events that might be of interest to our clients. Thank you for your continued support. 

Graham Watkinson, Co-Owner and Director of Chorley FC had this to say: “The Directors of Chorley FC are very appreciative of the important work of the Chorley FC Community Foundation Trustees & Volunteers for the caring & supportive initiatives that were introduced to continue to support the members of their Sporting Memories Group, Former Players & other people who are living in isolation from the Chorley area during the recent COVID times.”