Mansfield Town’s oldest living player Walter Edwards, 94, has been a regular attendee at Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s newly launched Dementia Group, aimed at remembering their sporting memories and tackling isolation.
Every Friday morning Mansfield Town Football in the Community welcome those who are either living with dementia or those who are caring for someone with a dementia diagnosis, putting the kettle on and cracking open the biscuits – encouraging people to share their sporting memories and socialise.
The group is in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council and has been running for two weeks with Mansfield Town’s oldest living player Walter Edwards in attendance, sharing his stories and experiences with current Stags players David Mirfin and Craig Davies at the group’s first meeting.
Mark Hemingray, FITCS head of Community said, “Hearing Walt’s stories really struck home how tough living with dementia can be, he’s achieved so much and has so many stories to share yet some of the details are blurred which must be heart-breaking for his friends and family.
“With over 40,000 people in the UK living with dementia under 65 it really brought home for me personally why you should cherish every moment, I think that was the same for David [Mirfin] and Craig [Davies] who were really patient and chatty with both Walt and the other attendees.
“Over the last three years there have been so many national studies and stories regarding footballers living with dementia, including former Stags players Ernie Moss and Kevin Bird – there will be so many more players and supporters alike out there within our community, and we hope this regular morning will encourage people to come along and feel that community spirit and social release.”
Mr Edwards who was born and bred in Mansfield signed for the club as an amateur in August 1947 and turned pro three months later, scoring five goals in twenty-five matches for the Stags before joining Leeds United.
The 94 year old who is a regular attendee of the Dementia Group also had spells at Leeds United, Leicester City and Rochdale before finishing his playing career Boston United.
The group will be open at Mansfield Town Football in the Community every Friday morning between 10am and 12noon and anyone either living with or caring for someone living with dementia are invited to come along and share their memories, sporting or otherwise, and tackle the issue of isolation and loneliness, by meeting new people and making new friends.
If you would like further information, contact Football in the Community on 01623 656 920.