South Ribble Tackles Loneliness, Dementia and Depression with Sporting Memories

On Monday 18th June 2018, Progress Lifeline, in its capacity as a member of the South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance, was invited to attend the launch of an exciting new initiative for South Ribble.
What is Sporting Memories?

Sporting Memories, a 3 year project consisting of weekly nostalgia, reminiscence and games for the over 50’s, and funded by Sport England and the Sporting Memories Network, will commence from the Lancashire FA grounds in Leyland on Monday 25th June, 11am – 12.30pm.

The sessions are open to anyone over the age of 50 but are especially geared towards people living with dementia and aim to reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression. Family members and friends are also welcome to come along and, if the launch was anything to go by, the sessions should be full of laughter and the sharing of special memories.

Sporting Memories offers opportunities for reminiscence, a chance to circulate sporting and local memorabilia as well as a chance to socialise, share memories of times gone by, listen to music and watch sporting clips. There will also be a variety of low-impact sports to take part in, such as Subbuteo, table tennis and carpet bowls.

Where will Sporting Memories meet?

The group will meet in a room at the Lancashire FA grounds, formally Leyland Motors FC, in Leyland. Overlooking the pitch, even the location of the sessions will be sure to bring back some special sporting memories for people who may have fond memories of playing for, or watching, semi-professional football club Leyland Motors in the 1950’s, 60’s 70’s and 80’s!

What happened at the launch of South Ribble Sporting Memories?

The Sporting Memories launch commenced with a welcome from Chairperson of the South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance - Anna Marie Knipe of Birchall Blackburn Law, followed by introductions from Andrew Whittaker - Lancashire FA’s Football Development Disability and Inclusion Officer, and Megan Hale - Project Coordinator from the Sporting Memories Network.

It was attended by local sporting legends including former PNE player Alex Bruce, Johnny Robinson who played for Bury FC back in the day, and Trevor Meredith – Burnley FC. However the launch of Sporting Memories was dedicated to the man who inspired the Sporting Memories group to be brought to Leyland; the Leyland estate agent founder, and ex-Burnley FC and England footballing star Brian Pilkington.

Keith McIntosh, the driving force behind South Ribble Sporting Memories and a close friend of Brian Pilkington, said at the Sporting Memories launch: 

I first heard about Sporting Memories when I was on holiday in Scotland and immediately thought of Brian and how we could set up a Sporting Memories group in Leyland that would help people with an interest in sport feel alive again, and like they themselves are not forgotten. It’s fitting that Brian and his family are here today, at the former Leyland Motors grounds where Brian started his footballing career as a youth player. Keith McIntosh

The launch drew to a close with some reminiscence from the 1980’s - “Accrington Stanley – who are they?” And from the 1960’s – “Pickles the Dog and the Jules Rimet trophy.” And then Norman Prince (frontman of the Houghton Weavers and BBC Radio Broadcaster), evoked some special memories of catching the train to Blackpool and dancing the night away at the Winter Gardens and the Tower Ballroom, with a rendition of the “Blackpool Belle”.


Sporting Memories sessions are available:

South Ribble (Leyland): Lancashire FA, County Ground, Thurston Road, Leyland, PR25 2LF
Every Monday 11am-12.30pm
Chorley: Chorley FC, Victory Park, Duke Street, Chorley, PR7 3DU
Every Wednesday 1.30pm – 3pm
For further information about the South Ribble Sporting Memories sessions running from the Lancashire FA in Leyland, please contact Andrew Whitaker at:
More information about the Chorley Sporting Memories sessions can be obtained from Jonothan Gains at

 Click here  for more information about the Sporting Memories Initiative