A squad of dementia patients who use football memories as therapy were presented with their official kit in Inverness yesterday.
Members of the Highland Football Memories network were handed their new tops at the Dementia Resource Centre in Strothers Lane.
The group meets up once a month to share memories of the beautiful game, with the help of dementia link worker at Alzheimer Scotland.
Each session kicks off with some talk around old football photographs, match programmes or other memorabilia from the end of World War II until the early 1980s. There might also be footage shown from old football matches.
The activities and discussions help to elicit memories of matches they once attended, goals they witnessed or games they played in during their younger days.
Delving into these memories in a supported environment allows participants to relive the camaraderie and bonds that they experienced before, and builds on the natural social networks that the game creates, helping to increase self-confidence.
John MacLemman, a longstanding member of the Football Memories Group, has been enjoying the reminiscence for more than two years.
He said: “It was great to celebrate the group today and remember old friends past and present. I am very proud of everyone.”
Yesterday at the Dementia Resource Centre Kenny Wright, dementia link worker at Alzheimer Scotland who supports the group, presented the shirts to the men. He also handed scarfs with Alzheimer Scotland tartan broaches on them to their wives – collectively known as “the wags”.
The wives of the men who attend the group meet while the group are reminiscing about football, to talk about the highs and lows of caring for someone with dementia.
The money for the strips and the scarfs came form solicitors Macleod and MacCallum, who donated a community grant of £500 in support of local Football Memories groups.
Gillian Coghill, dementia advisor and dementia link worker who delivered the friend session, said: “The groups are an inspiration and we all hope people will be inspired to attend the football group or the carers’ group.”