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Celtic star’s inspiring Dementia Awareness Week story – watch

Bill Corbett, Bill Shankly, Dementia
Bill Corbett (left) with Bill Shankly during his playing days

THE story of a former Celtic footballer is among those being used to help create awareness of dementia this week – Dementia Awareness Week.

Bill Corbett’s story is the subject of a video by the Sporting Memories Network – a social enterprise uses sporting archives to provide reminiscence engagement with dementia sufferers.

The video can be viewed here.

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Tony Jameson-Allen, director of Sporting Memories Network, said of his organisation’s approach: “Initially I was asked to attend a day centre to talk about football.

“I hit upon the idea of bringing along some football images and getting a group of guys around the table with those photos from football matches from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

“What happened was something quite remarkable.”

He added: “The guys game to life; it sparked memories of matches, players, grounds, pubs, fights, everything around football. The best example of the power that it had was Bill’s story.

“Bill is a gentleman who attended the day centre group. Prior to this he went there but was very quiet; he didn’t like bingo or singing and was pretty much reluctant to engage at all. He’d come in, have his lunch, have a quiet day and go home again.

“After attending our session we found out he had played for Celtic, and for Scotland and at Wembley. It was a remarkable discovery and brought him to life, he got to tell his story before he passed away.”

Jameson-Allen’s Sporting Memories Network were among a number of organisatios that attended a one-day conference last week at the Rose Bowl venue within Leeds Metropolitan University.

There, Health Minister Jeremy Hunt called for the communities across Britain to become dementia friendly as the country celebrates Dementia Awareness Week.

The awareness raising week kicked off on Sunday and continues until this Saturday, May 25.

In a note to delegates in attendance at the Dementia Roadshow Conference in Leeds, including representatives from the Irish, Asian and Muslim communities, the Minister also called for help achieving the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge for 2013.

“When I became health secretary I decided the best thing to do was to focus all my efforts on a small number of priorities, like the Prime Minister one of those is dementia,” he said.

“Thanks to incredible advances in medicine, nutrition and public health, we are all now living longer healthier lives than our grandparents could have imagined, this should be celebrated, but with this success comes challenges and by the end of this decade there will be 1million people in this country living with dementia.”

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Fiona Audley
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Fiona Audley is Managing Editor with The Irish Post. You can follow her on Twitter @fifiaudley

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