Former players and fans embrace GCU football memories research

23 April 2013

Former players and fans embrace  GCU football memories research

A recently completed Glasgow Caledonian University research project into the benefits of football reminiscence for men and women with dementia has been embraced by the fans and former players at one of Scotland’s biggest clubs.

GCU mental health nursing lecturer and researcher, Andrew Lowndes, is excited to see a Memories FC-style event being rolled out just weeks after the completion of the 18-month GCU study, which wound up in December 2012 following three hugely successful events at Hampden Stadium attended by hundreds of people with dementia and their carers.

“The last Hampden Memories FC event in November 2012 was the highlight of my professional career. It was amazing to see so many people turning up to take part and getting so much out of it. It was extremely emotional for me, our mental health nursing student volunteers, members of partner organisations – and, of course, the men and their families,” said Andrew.

“We could all see the benefits that football reminiscence brings to so many people. That really brought the research side of our work to a close but within weeks I was asked to take part in a similar event being organised by the Rangers Former Players Benevolent Club (RFPBC). Former player Colin Jackson and his wife Pam came along to Hampden out of curiosity and they became great supporters of the project. However, I was still surprised when they immediately decided to take it into the heart of the footballing community by organising their own reminiscence session.

“It is a great example of how research by academics can very quickly make a real difference outside the university walls and be of real benefit to the community.

“I will be going along to MC the RFPBC session, and mental health nursing students will also be volunteering. It offers them a great learning and practical experience - and it is great fun!”

The RFPBC event, which is expected to be attended by 150 people, will follow the same format that worked so successfully during the Memories FC days at Hampden. Using photographs, digital images and other memorabilia, Rangers football historian David Mason and GCU’s mental health nursing students and staff will stimulate chat, debate and memories of famous players, games and footballing nostalgia.

Organisers Colin and Pam Jackson said:  “The fans have always been terrific when it comes to supporting the RFPBC and we want to give something back to them. After attending the events at Hampden, we know how beneficial these activities can be and we are all looking forward to the day.

“It has been made possible because of the kindness of others, including Andrew Lowndes of GCU, David, the Rangers historian, and the former players who are supporting the event.

The event takes place on Tuesday, April 23 in Govan. 

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